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Phl to hold air talks with Mexico, Qatar this month

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is set to hold air talks with Mexico and Qatar this month as part of efforts by the government to boost the tourism industry.

Carmelo Arcilla, executive director of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), said the Philippine Air Negotiating Panel is set to hold talks with its counterpart in Mexico on May 12 and in Qatar on May 27.

This is the fourth and fifth air talks that would be conducted by the Philippines this year. It has so far signed new air agreements with Singapore, Oman, and Australia this year.

Last April 29, the Philippines signed its third air pact for the year after reaching an agreement with Australia, further increasing seat entitlements by 55 percent to 9,300 seats per week.

“Currently, Philippine carriers are fully utilizing the Philippine entitlements,” Arcilla said.

Total traffic between the Philippines and Australia went up by 10 percent to 327,000 last year. There are about 400,000 Filipinos living and working in Australia.

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Data showed that tourists from Australia increased by five percent to 224,000 last year.

Arcilla added that both countries also agreed to allow third country code sharing.

“The two countries also agreed to allow third country code sharing, which will enable designated airlines of the Philippines or Australia to operate services jointly with an airline of a third country, to, from or via the other country and thus improve market distribution,” he said.

Alex Reyes, general manager for long haul division of Cebu Pacific, said the low cost carrier is looking forward to expanding its services between Manila and Sydney on the back of the growing number of tourists.

“We look forward to expanding our services and further growing inbound tourism into our countries,” Reyes said.

According to Reyes, Cebu Pacific has increased the number of flights between Manila and Sydney to five times a week, three months after it launched four-times weekly non-stop flights to Australia in September last year.



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