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MANILA, Philippines – Budget airline Cebu Pacific is competing with legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) for flights to Canada, according to documents from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).
Last May 29, the Philippines and Canada signed a deal doubling the number of flights between the two countries in a bid to boost tourism and investments.
Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific is looking at flying 7 times a week to Canada to add to its long-haul routes.
Legacy carrier PAL, jointly owned by tycoon Lucio Tan and San Miguel Corporation, earlier applied for additional 7 weekly flights to Canada that if approved, would double its frequency. It now flies to Vancouver and Toronto 7 times per week.
The new air service agreement between the Philippines and Canada increased the frequency entitlement for each country to 14 flights a week from 7. Both countries also agreed to boost fifth freedom rights to 5 flights per week from 4.
Fifth freedom rights allow airlines to fly passengers to a country where it has an existing air service agreement before proceeding to a third destination.
The Philippines has so far signed new air deals with France, Singapore, New Zealand, Myanmar, and Canada.
Last year, the Philippines signed air agreements with Japan, Macau, Brazil, Australia, Israel, and Italy.
The Aquino administration is pursuing air talks as part of its open skies policy, to help the country meet its target of attracting 10 million tourists by 2016.
Cebu Pacific is eyeing flights to the United States after the US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the safety rating of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines back to Category 1 last April.
It also wants to fly to Europe following the lifting of the European Union ban. (READ: How PH aviation transformed from shame to pride)
Both Cebu Pacific and PAL are undergoing refleeting programs in line with plans to launch new routes.
Cebu Pacific is acquiring nearly 50 aircraft, while PAL is buying 100. – Rappler.com