CebuPac eyes PAL’s unused seats to Taiwan

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BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific has asked government regulators for the reassignment of key flight entitlements to Taiwan, currently allocated but not being used by flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Documents from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) show that the carrier of the Gokongwei group wants to take on a total of 1,260 seats a week on flights between Manila and Taipei.

The only available unused entitlements between Manila and Taipei, however, are held by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific pointed out.

The budget carrier formally sought the “reallocation of additional entitlements to Taiwan of 1,260 weekly seats from the unutilized seat entitlements assigned to PAL on route 1.”

This was in accordance with the “existing 1996 Manila Economic and Cultural Office-Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Meco-Teco) confidential memorandum of understanding between the governments of the Philippines and Taiwan,” the CAB said.

The regulator is set to hear the case on Feb. 13, documents showed.

The Philippine government has been working on increasing the number of allowed flights between the country and Taiwan due to strong demand.

Last week, CAB officials said the Philippine Air Panel, composed of representatives from the departments of Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Communications, tried to schedule a new round of talks with their counterparts from Taiwan and other countries considered to be undeserved markets.

Last June, the CAB junked an application by Cebu Pacific for the reallocation of PAL’s unused entitlements to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

At present, no local carrier flies to the Middle East, although PAL is the only local airline with rights to fly to the UAE and other Arab states.

Cebu Pacific earlier bared plans to start flights to Dubai in October, kicking off its long-haul operations.

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