MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Ethiopia signed a maiden air services agreement (ASA), expanding their aviation relationship and traffic rights, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) reported.
The air talks was initiated by Ethiopia, given its aggressive Asian expansion. Ethiopian Airlines now operates to Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Seoul.
While the current traffic between Philippines and Ethiopia is small, the air pact can open new connectivities between the country and Africa, plus the Middle East.
Ethiopia’s location in North East Africa serves as an aviation hub in the region. It serves as a transit point for passengers from other African countries and the Middle East.
The agreement also expands opportunities to Africa, an emerging market and a growth area.
The agreement allows for 7 flights per week between Manila and Ethiopia and unlimited flights between Ethiopia and other airports in the Philippines.
The agreement also allows intermediate stops in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, India, and the Middle East.
On August 14, the Philippines and South Africa signed a new air services agreement.
CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla previously said that South African Airlines had signified its interest to develop the market as part if its expansion in Asia. South Africa also initiated the air talks.
Apart from Ethiopia and 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. – Rappler.com