MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine carriers win this round, as the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) slapped a P1.8 million ($40,410.39)* fine on Emirates for selling tickets for the Manila-Dubai route without prior approval from the regulator.
Philippine Airlines Inc (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air (Cebu Pacific) complained to CAB for allowing Emirates to increase its Dubai-Manila flights despite exceeding its allowable capacity.
The local carriers also asked CAB to stop Emirates from selling tickets to be flown beyond December 26 this year.
Emirates Airlines previously stressed, “it is not seeking additional flights to Manila over and above its current operations.”
CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said in a text message, Friday, December 12 that the Dubai-based Emirates was penalized for violating the rules when it sold services until October next year.
Arcilla said Emirates is fully aware that it was only granted a 30-day extension or until December 26, to operate 3 daily flights between Manila and Dubai since the first 30-day extension given to the airline expired in November 26.
“The law prohibits an airline from selling flight services without authority to operate such flight, obviously for reasons of public policy that seeks to protect the public from the hazards arising from the uncertainty and unreliability of an unauthorized flight,” Arcilla added.
Arcilla pointed out that CAB already ordered Emirates to cease and desist from selling tickets for a 3rd daily flight beyond December 26.
PAL and Cebu Pacific accused Emirates of violating Republic Act 776 or the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines for allegedly selling tickets for the Dubai-Manila-Dubai routes until October 2015 even without CAB’s approval.
The local carriers said Emirates also violated Section 3 of Executive Order No. 29 after it granted “unwarranted” extra flights to Emirates.
In a statement released December 10, Emirates said it already spent a total of $99.2 million in direct expenditures in the Philippines including fuel uplift, aircraft landing and handling costs, in-flight catering, advertising, and area overheads – proof of its commitment to Philippine growth.
“… From the first Manila-Dubai flight we offered in 1990 to the ones in operation today, we will continue to serve the Filipino people,” Emirates Senior Vice President for Aeropolitical and Industry Affairs Salem Obaidalla said.
As 2015 approaches, Emirates also said the airline will still uphold its commitment to providing innovative products and the highest quality to customers, shippers, and business partners in the aviation and travel industries.
“Emirates passengers can certainly expect for more,” Emirates Philippines country manager Emirates Philippines country manager Abdalla Al Zaman said.
Meanwhile, PAL and Cebu Pacific also jointly opposing the planned new air talks between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) set for early next year.
The Philippines and the UAE first concluded air talks with the UAE in September 2012. The air pact doubled the flight entitlements to 28 per week from 14 per week between the two countries.
The Gulf carriers operate 5 daily flights between Manila and UAE as against the 3 daily flights of Philippine carriers.
Emirates and Etihad Airways have 14 flight entitlements per week while PAL has 14; PAL Express has 7; and Cebu Pacific also has 7. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P44.54