Saudi Arabia, Philippines ink new air deal

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The Philippine government has signed a new deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to increase flights as local airlines pursue aggressive expansion plans.

Following two days of negotiations this week, the local air panel signed the bilateral air service agreement (ASA) for flights to the Middle East, where millions of Filipinos work.

Under the new deal, flights between Manila and Jeddah were more than doubled to 21 a week from the current 10.

The agreement also removed restrictions to the number of flights between Clark Freeport, Pampanga, to any point in Saudi Arabia. In return, the country agreed to remove limits on the number of flights between Damman and any point in the Philippines.

The Philippine negotiating team was led by Transportation Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, who heads the department’s legal team.

Carmelo Arcilla, head of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and vice chairman of the interagency air panel, said the country had sought an increase in the number of flights to Saudi Arabia at the request of the country’s local airlines.

Local carriers, Arcilla said, were starting to consider more flights outside the Asia-Pacific region in a bid to expand their reach and grab a larger share of the market.

For instance, Cebu Pacific, which will take delivery of four brand-new Airbus A330-300 planes in 2013, said it would start long-haul flights to the United States and the Middle East by next year.

Also, flag carrier Philippine Airlines plans to focus on major domestic routes and expand its international operations. Minor domestic routes, meanwhile, will be transferred to sister firm Air Philippines.

At the moment, no local airline has flights to the Middle East.

Earlier this month, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates agreed to significantly increase flights between them as both countries look to boost their trade and tourism sectors.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • renato_dangal

    what’s this?

    “At the moment, no local airline has flights to the Middle East.”

    this article is done haphazardly. last 5 paragraphs should have not been included.

  • dingestraza

    What is surprising here in Saudi Arabia especially Jeddah, inspite of million of OFWs working here, there is no Philippine carrier operating? Where is the business logic of PAL, CEBU Pacific? Airlines who benefited from OFWs are Singapore Airline, Cathay Pacific, and other airlines.. who bag most of the revenue.

  • oozingkev

    what about airtalks with EU??  puro na lang middle eastern countries.. 

  • El_Gran_Capitan

    You want to use a cramped to the max  Low Cost Carrier for >11 hours of flight from jeddah to manila, be my guest

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B5HXITWGDUTJF2JPFTXRIOY7NQ Danyale

      While they are low-cost carrier, long-haul flights will certainly comply to IATA’s aircraft configuration rule. Budget fares and sometimes crampy sitting configurations, applies only to regional destinations, i.e., less than 5 hours, air flight.

      • El_Gran_Capitan

        Who said so, even Singapore Airline recently launch LCC called Scoot for long haul flight.Cebu Pacific is a low cost carrier, do you expect them to change for a traditional legacy airline

      • http://twitter.com/Sizzle75Ian ian martinez

        when will the the government take steps to overturn the ban on filipino airlines in europe ?

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