MANILA – South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) is determined to continue its application to be allowed to operate chartered flights to Korea following the rejection of South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation.
According to SEAIR chief operating officer Patrick Tan, the company has been repeatedly asking for the approval of South Korean authorities to allow chartered flights from Kalibo to Seoul to address “the large underserved demand for airline seats between Korea and the Philippines.”
Currently, Tan said that the annual load factor of local airlines between the country Korea is at 83 percent, but during peak seasons it rises to 95 percent.
“Note that any time load factors go over 75 percent, it becomes hard for a passenger to book a flight on his desired schedule. What this means to the passenger is that for most of the year, this is the case between the Philippines and Korea,” said Tan.
He pointed out that there is a need for additional flights to Korea in order to address the imbalance.
“Korea has five airlines flying between there and the Philippines, and the Philippines has only three,” he said.
The five airlines include Asiana Airlines, Air Busan, Jin Air, Jeju Air, and Korean Air. Meanwhile, the local carriers that have flights to Korea include Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia Philippines.
Tan also mentioned that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation of South Korea already sent them a notice denying their application last December 31, 2014 because of the European Union ban on airlines in the country.
But, Tan believes that the clearance from EU is not relevant in their request.
“This is despite our submission of opinions from the European Commission saying that the ban does not apply in our case for flights between Korea and the Philippines, and specific provisions in the MOU arising from the 2012 Philippines-Korea Bilateral Air Talks that by quoting the EU Ban as basis for denial, practically constitutes a breach of agreement,” he said.
SEAIR also asked assistance from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to help them in their appeal.
“We have asked the CAB to step in and help us appeal with Korea for them to abide by the MOU of the 2012 Air Talks,” he said.
Korea is one of the country’s largest source of tourist with 24.23 percent of total share, or more than 900,000 visitors from January to October 2014. Many Koreans usually visit the country to go to Boracay and Cebu.