PH, Singapore air negotiations stalled
Talks to resume after 6 monthsBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The governments of the Philippines and Singapore failed to reach a new deal this week to increase flights between the two countries amid rising demand due to surging regional tourism.
Following two days of negotiations this week, air panels from both countries instead agreed to resume negotiations on fresh flight entitlements for passenger and cargo traffic after six months.
“The parties could not agree on the outstanding issues for now,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said on Friday.
The CAB heads the Philippine air panel, which is made up of representatives from the Departments of Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Communications.
Negotiations between the local air panel and its Singaporean counterpart were held in Manila from Wednesday to Thursday.
The Philippines wants to boost air travel with 10 priority countries, including Singapore. At the top of the DoTC’s priority list are North Asian neighbors South Korea, Japan and China. The next five on the list are Australia, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Myanmar and Brazil.
South Korea, the United States, China and Japan are the biggest sources of tourists visiting the Philippines. Earlier, the Philippine air panel signed a new bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Seoul, increasing flights between South Korea and the Philippines by 50 percent.
The DoTC earlier said countries on the priority list might not necessarily be the biggest markets for the country’s airlines. The main factor would be the potential for growth.
Bilateral negotiations with other countries are part of the administration’s strategy to boost the country’s tourism industry.
The Aquino administration wants to triple tourist arrivals to the Philippines to 10 million by 2016 from 3 million in 2010. The tourism department said the country was on track to reaching 4.6 million tourists by year’s end.
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