Emirates Airlines interested in expanding capacity in Philippines

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Emirates Airlines is still keeping its fingers crossed that air talks between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Philippines would soon resume as the carrier is keen on ramping up air services in the country.

Satish Sethi, Emirates country manager for the Philippines, said in a briefing Thursday that the carrier is working closely with the Philippine government for additional flights and increased capacity.

“We have been looking for more seats and more capacity in the form of either more flights or in the form of an upgraded aircraft,” he said.

Last year, Sethi said Emirates carried close to one million passengers in and out of the Philippines, a 15 percent growth year-on-year.

“In the last 20 years, we carried nine million passengers. In last year alone, we hit one million. So that goes to show how fast the numbers have grown in the last year. That also calls for the need for more capacity out of the Philippines,” Sethi said.

Sethi said the Emirates does not see volumes increasing by a large percentage in the coming years without any additional capacity.

“We know that there’s a severe bottleneck here. We are trying to negotiate with the Philippine government which has been very kind to us all these years to see how we can bring more tourists into the Philippines and give more options to the OFWs living not only in Dubai, but also across our network. When there are more flights there is more connectivity, more trade, more cargo,” he said.

Sethi said Emirates has initially requested for at least three more flights a week to be added to its services from Manila.

“We currently operate 18 flights in Manila and we would like to move to 21 to start with. We have recently seen a reduction in capacity from some other airlines into the UAE and that left some room for us to come in. So we have requested the Philippine government to consider giving us part of those which were reduced so that it doesn’t really cost additional burden on NAIA and it does not really go beyond the entitlements that UAE has from the government,” he said.

Emirates is hoping that air talks between the UAE and the Philippines could resume after negotiations held in April 2017 ended in a deadlock.

“So we have been requesting to resume air services talks between the UAE and the Philippines. We are awaiting confirmation on that and once that happens, then we hope there are some positive actions that will come out of that. We’ve been requesting for that. We’re hoping that will happen soon,” Sethi said.

Aside from additional flight frequencies, Emirates is also looking to beef up capacity in Manila through the potential operations of the Airbus 380 at NAIA.

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