MANILA – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) are both eyeing flights to Canada, according to documents provided by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).
PAL, co-owned by business mogul Lucio Tan and conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), currently flies to Canada seven times a week via Vancouver and Toronto. The carrier is looking to add seven weekly flight entitlements to Canada.
Cebu Pacific, a Gokongwei-owned corporation, on the other hand, is aiming to strengthen its long-haul routes and is seeking to start seven weekly flights to Canada.
The Philippines and Canada signed a new air service agreement last May 29.
Carmelo Arcilla, CAB executive director, explained that this new agreement modified the existing Philippine – Canada Air Services Agreement signed in December 2008 by adding to the frequency entitlement for each country from the previously agreed seven flights a week to 14 flights a week from.
The two countries likewise agreed to increase fifth freedom to five per week from four per week, and to allow airlines from the Philippines and Canada to enter into a third country code sharing.
Fifth freedom rights allow airlines from a resident country to fly passengers to third countries from a country where it has an existing air services agreement; while third-country code-sharing allows airlines to market indirect services between two countries via cooperative agreements with third-country airlines.
This year, the Philippines signed new air agreements with five countries : France last January, Singapore last February, New Zealand last March as well as Myanmar and Canada last May.
In 2013, the Philippines signed air agreements with Japan, Macau, Brazil, Australia, Israel, and Italy.
The Aquino administration is pushing its open skies policy by holding more meetings to discuss air policies and agreements. Also, Executive Order No. 29, stipulates that the volume of foreign traffic would be increased in airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Cebu Pacific is in the middle of a $4 billion re-fleeting program, while PAL is in the middle of a massive fleet renewal program aimed at acquiring 100 brand new aircraft.