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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and South Africa signed a new air services agreement to boost trade, investments and tourism between the two countries, an official of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said Thursday, August 14.
CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the air pact provides for 7 weekly flights for each country.
“There are no current operators as the market is still small. South African Airlines has signified its interest to develop the market as part if its expansion in Asia,” Arcilla said.
He pointed out that South Africa initiated the air talks.
“Air services between the Philippines and South Africa would improve our aviation network and connect us to the emerging markets of Africa,” he added.
Aside from South Africa, the Philippines concluded this year air talks with 7 countries – France, Singapore, New Zealand, Myanmar, Canada and Macau.
Air talks with Malaysia scheduled last April 3-4 were called off as authorities in Kuala Lumpur were preoccupied with the search for the missing Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
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 “pocket” open skies policy. Under Executive Order 29, airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were opened to more foreign traffic.
The open skies policy will help the country meet its target of attracting 10 million tourists by 2016.
The number of foreign tourists visiting the Philippines rose 2.2% to 2.43 million in the first half of the year from 2.38 million in the same period of 2013.
South Korea remained the no. 1 source of foreign tourists, with a share of 22.5%. Second was the US with 16%, followed by China (9.3%), Japan (9.1%), and Australia (4.6%). – Rappler.com