Philippine aviation regulator to decide this month on third daily Emirates flight to Manila

The Philippines’ aviation regulator says it will decide this month whether to renew talks with the UAE on the possibility of a third daily Emirates flight to Manila.

The airline’s right to operate the third flight expired in October, but the Civil Aeronautics Board had granted an extension to operate until January 26.

But before the extension had been approved, Emirates was slapped with US$40,627 in fines for selling tickets through March.


Carmelo Arcilla, the executive director of the aeronautics board, said yesterday that the regulator would meet with the ministries of transport, foreign affairs, labour, trade, and tourism in days to decide whether to have talks internally with the UAE.

“The Philippines side will convene this month among themselves to decide if there will be talks with Emirates this year,” Mr Arcilla said.

In February, in an effort to move the matter closer to a resolution, Emirates said it had “elevated” the dispute to a higher body, the Philippines presidential office.

Emirates, which has flown to Manila since 1990, said that its daily flights to the country supported more than 4,300 jobs in the Philippines last year through direct employment, as well as catering, ground handling jobs and other posts related to air travel services.

Separately, Qatari and Philippine officials will review their air agreement today and tomorrow in Doha.

Local reports from the Philippines say that Qatar Airways will be looking to add 13 more weekly flights between Hamad International Airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Mr Arcilla declined to “speculate” on the topics of discussion, but said “the talks are intended to enhance and discuss how to improve the aviation relationship between Qatar and Philippines”.

When asked if there was demand for 13 additional flights between Doha and Manila, he said: “Aviation is always moving forward. It has been six years since we last had talks with them. The market has improved. Certainly aviation is always forward.”

Officials at Emirates Airline declined comment. Officials at Qatar Airways could not be reached.

selgazzar@thenational.ae

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