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CAB sets air talks with Emirates, Singapore


MANILA, Philippines - The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is set to hold bilateral air talks with Singapore authorities this week and is likewise looking at the possibility of holding similar discussions with the United Arab Emirates.

This was revealed to the STAR by CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla on the sidelines of Singapore Airlines’s recent launch of its Showcase and Travel Fair 2015 last week at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.

Arcilla said he would meet with the Philippine air panel and representatives of the UAE today to discuss Emirates Airlines’ request for more  seat entitlements.

“We are going to meet again (today). I don’t know what will happen,” Arcilla revealed, adding that “discussions are complicated since it would involve Sixth Freedom issues.”

UAE has been pushing for bilateral air talks to formalize its request for more seat entitlements for the Manila-Dubai route after Emirates’ code-sharing arrangement with Philippine Airlines ended several months ago.

However, local carriers PAL and Cebu Pacific are opposed to the UAE’s move to hold bilateral air talks as it would affect the two local airlines’ plans to expand their operations in the Middle East which is a top destination for overseas Filipino workers.

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Emirates Airlines was recently penalized by CAB for mounting unauthorized extra flights for the Manila-Dubai route.

Meanwhile, CAB is also scheduled to hold bilateral air talks with Singapore on Thursday.

According to Arcilla, one of the topics for discussion would include the possibility of third country code-sharing.

A code-sharing agreement is an agreement between two or more air carriers whereby the carrier operating a given flight allows one or more other carriers to market this flight and issue tickets for it as if they were operating the flight  themselves.

However, Arcilla said that the third country code-sharing arrangement is more complicated.

Arcilla said that the CAB is open to allowing more foreign airlines to operate in the country, “subject to limitations.”

The CAB official acknowledged the need to open up Philippine airspace to more foreign carriers, allowing them to bring in more visitors, especially from Europe – a market which Philippine carriers have not been able to service sufficiently.

However, Arcilla is also wary of the growing threat of “megahubs” which could ultimately threaten the local carriers’ own growth and the development of direct flights.



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