More Flights Between the Philippines and Japan
There will be more airline flights between the Philippines and Japan, after both countries signed a new air service agreement that allows their airlines to increase the number of passengers travelling to both sides.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the new air pact increase the number of flights between Manila and Narita to a maximum of 400 a week from the current level of 119 a week.
The deal also allows 14 flights a week between Manila and Tokyo, Arcilla said. It also allows for unlimited air traffic rights between points in the Philippines except Manila and points in Japan except Haneda.
"This is a major breakthrough, especially since Japan is a major and third biggest tourism market for the Philippines, and also since the last talks was held in 2008, and the current Philippine entitlements are almost fully utilized," Arcilla said.
Arcilla said the new air pact will benefit Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, which both currently fly to Japan, as well as Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
Japan earlier started issuing multiple-entry visas for Filipino citizens, valid for three years. Granting multiple entry visas is expected to increase the number of Filipino tourists who visit Japan.
"We also agreed on new traffic rights between Haneda Airport and Manila at 14 flights per week for each side, and unlimited traffic rights between points [airports] in the Philippines except Manila and points in Japan except Haneda," Arcilla said.
"Fifth freedom traffic rights remain as previously agreed," he said.
The fifth freedom, also referred to as beyond rights, allows an airline to carry revenue traffic between foreign countries as a part of services connecting the airline's own country.
It is the right to carry passengers from one's own country to a second country, and from that country to a third country.
Fifth freedom rights are also sought by airlines wishing to take up unserved and underserved routes or those airlines whose flights already make technical stops at a location as allowed by the second freedom.
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways operate flights to the Philippines.
"This is a major breakthrough, especially that Japan is a major and third biggest tourism market for the Philippines and also since the last talks was held in 2008, and the current Philippine entitlements are almost fully utilized," Arcilla said.
Arcilla said the new agreement with Japan is "one of the most liberal increases" Manila has concluded so far. "This is made possible by the current liberal aviation policies of both the Philippines and Japan. It is expected that the expanded traffic rights will support the further growth and expansion of the Philippine-Japan market," he said.
The air talks were held in Japan on September 11 to 13, 2013.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have flights to Japan. "Other Philippine carriers are expected to enter the market," Arcilla said.
Low cost carriers AirAsia Philippines and Tigerair Philippines have expressed interest in flying to Japan.
PAL holds the most number of seating capacity in the Manila-Japan route at 43 percent of total, while Cebu Pacific has less than three percent. PAL flies to and from Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka and Tokyo, while Cebu Pacific operates three times weekly to Osaka.