The Philippines and Japan signed a new air services agreement on Thursday night to allow more commercial flights between the two countries.
The new air deal added a total of 58 weekly flights between various airports of both countries to the existing 61.
Currently, local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are plying the existing routes between Manila airport and several airports in Japan. The increased entitlements, which both negotiating panels have agreed to, will open up more opportunities for Japanese and Philippine commercial airlines to serve existing or stir new demand.
This recent air deal is the eighth that the Philippines has concluded for the year. It has been the policy of the Philippine government to offer new access airports, such as that in Clark in northern Luzon, to decongest the Manila airport, currently the main gateway to the Philippines.
Previously signed air deals with Asian countries, like Hongkong and Macau, among others, have enticed Cebu Pacific to lease brand new planes so it could avail of the increased entitlements by launching new flights.
Air deals are concluded after bilateral negotiations between two countries’ panel agree on how many additional seats or flights they could both mount.
Policy decisions on how the aviation market between the two countries is regulated pave the way for more players, thus increased competition. Usually, the benefits of more competition trickes down to the passengers and cargo through lower fares and more efficient service.
Under the newly inked bilateral air agreement, the Philippines and Japan now have reciprocal rights to increase the following flights:
– additional 14 flights from Manila to Osaka and Nagoya,
– additional 6 flights from Clark to Osaka and Nagoya,
– additional 10 flights from Manila to Fukuoka,
– and additional 28 from other international airports in the Philippines to Japanese airports other than Tokyo.
PAL currently flies to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo while Cebu Pacific flies to Osaka.
This newest air deal is generally considered a breakthrough since the traffic between the two countries is busy.
Japan has been the Philippines’ second-largest source of foreign arrivals, with more than 300,000 incoming tourists and 170,000 overseas Filipino workers registered in 2007.
At the recent ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Transport Ministers Meeting, Transport Secretary Leandro Mendoza said that air travel, while weakened by financial distress worldwide, could still take off because of increased cooperation between Asian countries.