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PAL set to resume flights to Paris

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has inked a new air agreement with France that would allow national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) to resume flights to Paris after 16 years, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) reported yesterday.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said in a text message that the Philippines managed to get half of the 14 flights per week it was seeking from France.

“We agreed on seven flights per week between the Philippines and France. Seven is the limit that the French are willing to agree for now, although we were asking for at least 14,” Arcilla said.

He pointed out that the seven flights per week was more than the maximum four flights per week enjoyed by PAL when the airline used to fly to Paris until 1998

“The maximum that PAL could use before was four when it previously operated to Paris (until 1998),” he added.

Arcilla explained that both the Philippines and France agreed on a third country code sharing that would allow French airlines mainly Air France and KLM to fly to Manila via Amsterdam that could further boost tourism in the country.

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“This means that Air France can operate from Paris to Manila via Amsterdam, using KLM as operating carrier.

This means possible additional flights from Europe that will support travel and tourism,” he said.

On the part of the Philippines, he pointed out that domestic airlines could partner with any Southeast or East Asian airline for its third country code sharing for flights to Paris.

“Reciprocally, Philippine carriers can enter into third country code share on the Manila-Paris route, with any South East or East Asian airline,” he added.

The agreement is expected to benefit PAL that is looking at flying to other European countries after successfully launching direct flights to London last Nov. 4.

The governments of the Philippines and France signed an air agreement way back in 1969 but the seat entitlements under the agreement are not being utilized.

PAL, jointly owned by taipan Lucio Tan and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., is looking at launching more flights to other European countries including Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome this year.

It would be recalled that the European Union last July 12 lifted a ban preventing PAL from flying to European airspace after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) got a positive impression at the EU’s Air Safety Committee (ASC) in Belgium.

In March of 2010, the 27-member European Commission imposed a ban on Philippine carriers from European airspace for the failure of the CAAP to reform the country’s civil aviation system.

Last September, Philippines and Italy signed a new air agreement replacing the four decade old air pact. Both countries agreed to have 14 flights per week from only one flight a week under the air agreement signed in 1969.

Aside from Italy, the Philippines signed air service agreements with five other countries including Japan, Macau, Brazil, Australia, and Israel last year. It is scheduled to hold air talks with Singapore next month and New Zealand in March.

President Aquino has signed Executive Order 29 authorizing the CAB and the Philippine air panels to pursue more aggressively the international civil aviation liberalization policy.

 

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