Philippines eyes air talks with Jordan, Morocco
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - July 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines plans to hold air talks with Jordan and Morocco this year to strengthen diplomatic ties and prepare for potential air services agreements with these countries in the future.

“Most of the air talks this year are more of in the nature of diplomatic commitments. Morocco is asking us. Jordan is asking us. Many countries which are not really in our radar,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.

Arcilla said the CAB also recently conducted air talks with Chile and Timor-Leste with its nature being more of diplomatic commitments as well.

“Like for example, Chile.The President is visiting Chile in November for the APEC, because Chile is the chairman of the APEC. So it’s a way of strengthening our relationship with an APEC fellow member. It can also support trade and investments between the two countries,” Arcilla said.

“Earlier, we had talks with Timor-Leste. It’s like building the aviation infrastructure in terms of the agreements. They wanted to strengthen relationship between the two countries,” the CAB official said.

Arcilla said even though chances of direct flights from Chile, Timor-Leste, Morocco and Jordan are not very strong at the moment, it pays to enhance the Philippines’ overall bilateral relationship with these foreign countries “to prepare for the future.”

Meanwhile, Arcilla said the Philippines has yet to secure a Saudi Arabia overfly permit for direct route to Israel.

While the country’s request has not been rejected, he said the Philippines has not received any response and indication for possible approval from the Saudi government.

“We have requested Saudi for overflight rights. But we have not yet received an approval. It is essential to have that overflight rights for PAL to have a viable commercial operation to Tel Aviv. Otherwise, they have to skirt Saudi territory, and it would entail at least two hours additional flight,” Arcilla said.

“We were following the example of India because India was able to get that overflight rights so they now fly to Tel Aviv, but we haven’t have had the luck yet,” he said.
Last year, the Philippines upgraded its air services agreement with Switzerland and also inked a memorandum of understanding with Thailand containing the draft of a new air services agreement that will replace the old one signed in 1953.

CARMELO ARCILLA
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