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Low-cost carriers seek additional seats to Singapore

MANILA, Philippines - Three low-cost carriers are seeking additional seat entitlements to Singapore after the government signed its first air services agreement this year opening up more commercial opportunities for the airlines of the Philippines and Singapore.

The applications of budget airlines Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific), Tiger Airways Philippines, and AirAsia Zest were consolidated by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

In the consolidated application, the three budget airlines sought additional allocation of entitlements to Singapore in accordance with the recently concluded agreement entered into by the governments of the Philippines and Singapore last Feb. 13.

Cebu Pacific and Tigerair owned by taipan John Gokongwei are seeking additional weekly seats of 1,260 each while AirAsia Zest is also seeking the same number of seat entitlements.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla announced the signing of the new memorandum of understanding on air services increased the current capacity entitlements between Manila and Singapore by 7.1 percent to 18,888 seats per week for each country from the current 17,627 seats per week.

Likewise, Arcilla said the list of co-terminal points for Singaporean carrier that currently includes Cebu, Davao, and Puerto Princesa was expanded to include Iloilo and Bacolod.

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According to him, both the Philippines and Singapore also agreed to increase the limit on the frequencies for 5th freedom to 10 per week from eight per week. Fifth freedom rights refer to the right to fly passengers to third countries from a country with which an airline’s resident country has an outstanding air services agreement.

 “This means that a Singaporean carrier for example can operate a route that starts from Singapore to Manila and proceeds to Osaka, 10 times a week,” he added.

Arcilla said both countries also agreed on third country code sharing allowing airlines of the two countries to collaborate with airlines from third countries in marketing services between the Philippines and Singapore. 

Tourist arrivals in the Philippines inched up by 2.3 percent to 3.95 million from January to October last year compared to 3.86 million in the same period in 2013.

Korea was the major source of foreign tourists with 958,289 for a share of 24.23 percent followed by the US with 592,204 or a share of 14.97 percent; Japan with 382,633 or 9.67 percent; China with 354,202 or 8.95 percent; Australia with 173,954 or 4.4 percent; Singapore with 146,966 or 3.72 percent; and Taiwan with 121,077 or 3.1 percent.

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