South East Asian carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has revealed its intention to double its frequencies to Canada following the successful conclusion of bilateral air services talks between the two countries. The expanded agreement with Canada follows amendments to traffic arrangements with France, Myanmar, New Zealand and Singapore this year and is part of an open skies policy being developed by President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.
In the first change to the Philippine - Canada Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) since December 2008, the two sides have agreed to increase the frequency entitlement for each side from seven flights a week to 14. Fifth freedom rights were also increased from four to five per week.
PAL is currently the only carrier utilising the existing traffic rights and offers a daily link to Vancouver with a three times weekly onward link to Toronto under fifth freedom permission. It will now file its manifestation before the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to secure the additional entitlements. “Once approved by CAB, the entitlements will increase PAL's total flight frequencies per week to Canada from seven to 14,” it confirmed in a statement.
"With the successful conclusion of the government – to - government air talks, we look forward to flying twice daily to Canada and offering our passengers greater flexibility and choice,” said Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer, Philippine Airlines.
However, PAL is unlikely to be the only Filipino carrier interested in these traffic rights and the arrival of widebodied Airbus A330s into the fleet of Cebu Pacific Airways over the past year could see the low-cost carrier seek the rights to serve Canada alongside PAL. A spokesman for the carrier has confirmed to local media in the Philippines that it wants to be “competitive in terms of allocations with other carriers” and was “very keen” on flying to Canada.
New BASAs were agreed with Brazil, Israel, Italy, Japan and Macau in 2013 and talks are scheduled with Russia, South Korea and Taiwan over the remainder of the year. The more relaxed stance on air connectivity has certainly played a role in growing number of tourism arrivals into Philippines. In 2013, around 4.68 million tourists visited the country, up 9.56 per cent on the previous year.
In our analysis, below, we look at bi-directional O&D passenger demand between Philippines and Canada over the past ten years. During this period numbers have more than doubled with an average annual growth rate of 12.2 per cent across the decade.