Revised Air Service Agreement Opens Door to More Flights between Japan and Philippines

A recently renegotiated Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Japan and Philippines will see All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cebu Pacific Air, and Philippine Airlines all introduce more regular flights between Manila and Japanese destinations during the summer 2014 schedule.

A recently renegotiated Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Japan and Philippines will see All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cebu Pacific Air, and Philippine Airlines all introduce more regular flights between Manila and Japanese destinations from the forthcoming summer schedule, which launches on March 30, 2014.  Japan was the Philippines’ third biggest source market for tourists in 2013 after South Korea and the United States.

Under the agreement, Philippine carriers can now offer up to 81 flights per week from the previous restriction of 56. This has meant changes to summer schedules and will see Philippine Airlines, which already runs flights from Manila to Tokyo Narita, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Osaka, offer a twice daily connection to Tokyo Haneda.  Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air, with existing flights to Osaka, will also fly to Tokyo Haneda daily and four times a week to Nagoya.  On the other hand, Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways will fly to Tokyo Haneda daily, which will complement its existing service between Manila and Tokyo Narita.

“The increased capacity in flights is a step forward from the recently concluded re-negotiation of the Japan – Philippines air services agreement, which is seen to open gates for additional flights between the Philippine and various points in Japan such as Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Sapporo, Okinawa, Ibaraki, Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda.  The fun in the Philippines can now be experienced by more tourists from Japan,” said Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

The Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) is part of the Philippine Air Negotiating Panel, along with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Civil Aviation Board (CAB).  A total of 433,705 Japanese visitors came to the Philippines in 2013, a 9.28 per cent share of the total international visitor arrivals for the year.  The market’s steady growth of 5.1 per cent from the previous year was also a result of the implementation of new programs and new products targeted at niche markets.

“Among the priorities of the DOT’s Market Development Group is to promote air access opportunities in the Philippines by helping develop new routes from target source market to both primary and secondary destinations, as well as encouraging more charter flights to the country,” explained Secretary Jimenez. 

“We also work with partner agencies in enhancing the business environment in the aviation sector, addressing various concerns, and unlocking constraints pertaining to entry requirements to the Philippines.  We hope that these developments in air connectivity can help us achieve the targets set in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) and contribute in the country’s economic agenda,” he added.

In our analysis below we look in greater detail at capacity and O&D demand between Japan and the Philippines over the past ten years.  The data from OAG Schedules Analyser shows limited variation in the available capacity between the two countries up until last year and then a sudden 45.4 per cent growth this year following the revision to the ASA.  Meanwhile, O&D demand between the two countries remained in the range of 750,000 to 950,000 annual passengers in the 2000s, but peaked in 2010 and 2012 to more than one million.

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