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Emirates denies PAL, CebuPac claims

MANILA, Philippines - Dubai-based Emirates denied yesterday the accusations made by local carriers led by national flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) that it is mounting excessive flights between Manila and Abu Dhabi.

In a statement, Emirates said it is not seeking additional flights to Manila and has been operating three daily flights between Dubai and Manila since the start of 2013.

“Emirates is not seeking any additional flights to Manila over and above its current operations. Our third daily flight on the Dubai-Manila route was implemented in January 2013 and has since become an integral service which is extremely popular with travellers,” the airline said.

Emirates pointed out that the airline would continue to abide by the rules and regulations of the state-run Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

“Emirates has always developed its services to the Philippines in a progressive and measured way, in line with market demand and authorizations granted by the Philippine authorities. We of course fully respect the CAB and abide by its rules and procedures,” it added.

The airline has been mounting flights between Manila and Dubai over the last 24 years and has played a significant role in facilitating trade and tourism.

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Likewise, it added that the airline has offered convenient travel options for 850,000 Filipinos living and working in Dubai.

“It is expected that thousands of new jobs will be generated for Filipino professionals in Dubai by Expo 2020, as well as related aviation projects,” the airline said.

PAL and PAL Express as well as budget airline Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways Philippines have accused Emirates of mounting excessing flights between the Manila and Dubai.

The carriers also accused Emirates of violating Republic Act 776 also known as the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines for allegedly selling tickets for the Dubai-Manila-Dubai routes until October next year even without the approval of CAB.

Likewise, the local carriers said CAB violated Section 3 of EO 29 after it granted Emirates another 30 days or until Dec. 26 to operate seven weekly flights on the said routes after the first 30-day extension given to the airline expired last Nov. 26.

“We believe that the grant of these unwarranted extra flights to Middle Eastern carriers distorts competition and undermines the investments of Philippine air carriers in building a truly competitive air route to the UAE,” the joint statement read.    

They argued that Emirates’ request for unwarranted extra flights to Manila is unnecessary as EO 29 allows foreign carriers to operate unlimited flights to Clark, Cebu and other airports in the Philippines.

According to the airlines, UAE carriers including Emirates should not be allowed to operate more than 28 frequencies which is the same number allowed for Philippine carriers.

“Emirates should not be allowed to make a mockery of Philippine regulations. As good citizens of the aviation world, Philippine carriers play by the rules. We adhere to the limits set by bilateral aviation agreements,” the airlines said.

The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) concluded air talks with UAE last September 2012. The new air pact doubled the flight entitlements to 28 per week from 14 per week between the two countries.

Emirates and Etihad Airways have 14 flight entitlements per week while PAL has 14, PAL Express has seven, and Cebu Pacific has seven.            






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