Manila, Philippines – After Philippines and Japan signed a new air service agreement, Japanese government lifted a ban that kept Philippine carriers from mounting additional flights, thus allowing unlimited routes to points outside Haneda and Manila.
Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla of the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said that both countries established an increase of commercial flights between their countries to boost tourism. The said agreement was signed Friday in Tokyo.
Previously, there were only 119 maximum flights allowed. With the new agreement, the traffic rights or the total maximum flight frequencies for the airlines of both countries was increased to 400 flights per week between Manila and Narita.
“This is a major breakthrough, especially that Japan is a major and third biggest tourism market for the Philippines,” Arcilla said.
In addition, the new air agreement would also benefit other airlines as national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) are currently flying to Japan while Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) operate in the Philippines.
Before this new deal, Japan limited Philippine carriers from operating more flights after the International Civil Aviation Organization raised safety and security concerns involving Philippine airlines.
However, last February, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines as well as the European Union passed the ICAO’s aviation safety audit.
Mary Sarah Inciso Gabornes
ABCom/Leyte Normal University