More airlines flying to PH if gov’t scraps carriers’ tax—FTIP official

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Lufthansa cabin personnel work in a Boeing 747-8 plane at the airport in Frankfurt. Lufthansa/Swiss Airlines, together with other foreign carriers, supports the removal of the so-called gross Philippine billings tax (GPBT) and the common carriers’ tax (CCT). AP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—At least seven foreign carriers are set to open, resume or add flights to the Philippines once the government scraps airline levies, industry groups said.

Federation of Tourism Industries of the Philippines (FTIP) interim president Aileen Clemente said in a phone interview that Lufthansa/Swiss Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, Etihad, KLM, Kuwait Airlines, and Qatar Airlines strongly support the removal of the so-called gross Philippine billings tax (GPBT) and the common carriers’ tax (CCT).

Clemente said these airlines have expressed interest in flying to the Philippines starting early next year once the law abolishing such charges has been enacted.

“The President has issued a certificate of urgency so our legislators only need to reconcile the Senate and House (of Representatives) bills on the removal of these charges. When the charges are removed and given that demand for flights grow, that would give international carriers the incentive to open or add flights to the Philippines,” she said.

Clemente said that, hopefully, the airlines can add more flights by mid-2013 if the taxes have been removed by then.

More international airlines flying to the country would mean higher tourism arrivals, Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) president John Paul Cabalza said.

“We have seen the dwindling number of seats available to the Philippines because of the GPBT and CCT and this is not good since different parts of the country are largely only reachable by air,” Cabalza said. Various local and foreign groups, including the Board of Airline Representatives, have been clamoring for the removal of such levies.

About 3.5 million tourists are expected to visit the Philippines this year, up 9.18 percent from 2011. The country aims to attract 10 million tourists by 2016.

To meet the target, 15 million seats should be made available, according to data released by the Senate. Currently, the Philippines only has six million seats available with about 369 flights weekly, the second-lowest in Asia and just ahead of Cambodia.

The Philippines is the only country that levies taxes on airlines, the PTAA and FTIP said earlier in a statement.

Studies project that revenue losses from the CCT and the GPBT will be offset by 20 million seats by 2016 and lower airfares by at least eight percent. There is a also a projected strong growth in tourist arrivals from 5.54 million in 2013, 6.75 million in 2014, 8.21 million in 2015, and 10 million in 2016.

Expected jobs to be created are currently seen at six million with revenues to be generated estimated to reach P455 billion by 2016.

The Congress has long passed its version of the bill removing the GPBT and CCT. Last week, the Senate unanimously voted for the passage of a Malacañang-backed bill conditionally waiving the P2.5 billion combined revenues from the GPBT and CCT. The Senate version exempts foreign carriers whose countries likewise give a similar tax exemption to Philippine carriers.

This early, Cabalza said, all tourism-related subsectors should start preparing for the entry of more foreign tourists to the country.

“We have to find the right balance in terms of supply of hotels, seats, pricing, and airport capacity. More training must also be provided to travel agencies and tour operators. Our tour guides should also become multilingual,” Cabalza said.

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  • Taiko_Kauna

    Where do you propose to have these flights land? At the sea? Domestic flight pa lang hirap na maka take off on time, paano na kung madagdagan pa flights? Nasaan na ang plano ni Roxas at ngayon si Abaya?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NU5SKCTR3NACZZRH2JUKKDIQK4 Adrian

    Mga Sakim kasi ang mga politiko sa ating!!! Ang iniisip nila ay ang mga bulsa nila kung paano mabubusog! Grabe marunong naman kayong mahiya mga garapal!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GG4T5UNZ3P7SCHSRNJ7PF5JZMM Jimmy

    Dito sa Canada pag may tiket ka na ay wala ka nang babayaran pang kung anu anong tax..!!! Sa Pinas bago ka makaalis ay may babayaran ka pang kung anu ano…!!!! Paano kung naubusan ka na ng piso..??? Pagbabayarin ka siguro ng dolar pero susuklian ka ng wala halos kwentang piso…!

  • murtson

    More tourists will be flying in if the government handles crimes better and seriously enforce laws.

  • denzel_alfonso

    Dati Amsterdam-Manila, Frankfurt-Manila direct ang sinasakyan namin pero wala na ngayon since last year pa yung sa KLM. Sayang dahil convenient para sa mga OFW.

  • rickysgreyes

    Why not keep the tax which earns 2.5 billion a year and increase the budgets of our airports by 2.5 billion for capital expenditures? Ang pagpapaganda ng NAIA 1 at 2 ay ang budget lang na maayos ang pag-gastos.This 2013, give the 2.5 billion to NAIA 1, in 2014 NAIA2 and Palawan, in 2014 Cebu and Camsur, etc.

    • athenapallas

      Wishful thinking. sana ganyan nga mag-isip ang mga politicos at liderato ng bansa natin. eh kaso inuuna nilang lagyan ng bilyones ang mga bulsa nila para sa ma-maintain ang maluluhong buhay ng mga anak nila na nasa swanky boarding schools sa Europe at Americas; i-maintain ang luho ng mga asawa at mistresses nila. kahit na forever nakalusok sa pagiging third world ang bansang Pilipinas wala silang kiber basta puno ang bulsa nila.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MVFD4BILVPVGXWC3EPKWNBXAYE wyl5326

    I hope our officials have common sense to also add law enforcers to augment the safety of expected influx of tourists and not get victimized by petty criminals and damage our country’s hospitality reputation.  

  • athenapallas

    They require so much taxes yet they don’t improve the disgusting condition of our international airports and rest rooms. and where does all the money go? in to the pockets of corrupt politicos and transportation officials.  

  • Luthmar

    About time the govt. does something about these heavy taxes levy on the airline companies.  Plenty of European airlines stopped flying to Manila because of this.  Tourists wanting to visit the Phil. get turned off because they must buy separate tickets to come to Manila.  As a result, they just stop in Thailand or Hong Kong.

    Swiss/Lufthansa, KLM and others were such good carriers and their schedules were very
    convenient but they no longer come to Manila because of these taxes.  What a pity.

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