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Business

Philippines, Russia forge new aviation deal

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and Russia have inked a new air services agreement, expanding the number of flights between the two countries.

The air services talks were held in Moscow from July 22 to 23.

The Philippine head of delegation, Transportation and Communication Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, and his counterpart, Sergey Seskutov of the Ministry of Transport signed an amendment to the 2009 Philippine-Russia Air Services Agreement which has “enhanced civil aviation cooperation between the two countries,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

In his closing statement, Lotilla said “the two sides worked very hard in these two days but I feel that we were able to come to an understanding that is mutually beneficial and one that significantly expands cooperation between our countries.”

The new arrangement allows Philippine carriers to conduct operations between any point in the country and three destinations in Russia, including Moscow.

According to the DFA, travelers between the Philippines and Europe/North America would benefit from faster and more competitively-priced direct flights with the use of Russian airspace assured by the agreement.

Major Russian carriers such as Aeroflot will also be able to market the Philippines as a destination using their wide networks and alliances, which will potentially increase further the number of Russian tourists visiting the country.

“We are confident that the new arrangements will help us meet our targets for Russia and the CIS,” Philippine Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr., said.

He noted about 40,000 Russian tourists visit the country every year while more than two million travelers from Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) visit the other Asean countries.

With the new arrangement, the Philippines will have an increased chance of getting a bigger share of the market as tourists from the region will gain better access to its world-class destinations.

Another key benefit is the potential development of the Philippines as a destination by Russian cargo liners, providing a boost to trade and economic relations.

“The discussions covered a wide range of issues in our civil aviation cooperation. We are pleased with the way our relationship with Russia is developing and this was reflected in the last two days’ discussions,” Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said.

ACIRC COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAJOR RUSSIAN NORTH AMERICA PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR PHILIPPINE TOURISM UNDERSECRETARY BENITO BENGZON JR. PHILIPPINE-RUSSIA AIR SERVICES AGREEMENT PHILIPPINES AND EUROPE PHILIPPINES AND RUSSIA RUSSIA
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