United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier, Emirates Airline is to add two additional destinations to its network in the Philippines in 2016 as it takes advantage of a revised Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) that has provided additional rights to airlines from both countries.
Emirates has opened reservations for a new daily flight linking its Dubai International Airport hub with both Mactan–Cebu International Airport and Clark International Airport (formerly the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) from the end of March 2016. The flight will operate on a triangular basis and will be flown using a two-class Boeing 777-300ER.
Emirates has been operating services into the Philippines since 1990, linking Manila with over 100 global destinations via its Dubai International Airport hub. The recent air services talks have resulted resulted in Emirates gaining rights for four additional flights per week on its existing route to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, and these will be launched from March 29, 2016, according to literature sent to the Philippines aviation regulator.
"We also hope that our desired introduction of the world’s flagship A380 aircraft on one of our daily Manila services will take place soon further adding to the prestige of the airport and underlining the global significance of the city," said Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President for Aeropolitical and Industry Affairs, Emirates Airline, in the correspondence.
Cebu will be brand new destination for Emirates, but the carrier previously served Clark during the winter schedule of 2013/2014, ending flights in May 2014 after just seven months of operation.
The island of Cebu lies in Visayas, one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, and continues to evolve as a key hub for furniture-making, business processing services and heavy industry. With Cebu and the surrounding islands’ rich tourism offering, central Visayas attracted a total of 1.6 million foreign tourists last year.
Clark International Airport is located in the province of Pampanga in Central Luzon, around 80 kilometres to the north of Manila. The modern facility, used mainly used by low-cost carriers, serves the general vicinity of Greater Manila Area, along with the northern regions of Luzon and has a catchment of around 17 million people.
“This new service will help to enhance the Philippines’ trade links with the rest of the world and boost incoming tourism, supporting the Department of Tourism’s ‘Visit the Philippines Again 2016’ campaign. It will also expand travel options for Filipinos from the Central Luzon region as well as the Visayas region and offer more flexibility for overseas workers departing Philippines or looking for options to fly home,” said Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline.
The news of this growth follows just weeks after fellow UAE carrier, Etihad Airways announced it is to also boost flights to next year’s Routes Asia host city, Manila. The hub carrier will introduce an additional three weekly flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport from May 1, 2016, offering a total of 17 return flights per week in this market.
As part of the revised BASA, the Philippines Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has granted additional entitlements to Cebu Pacific Air for international routes from Manila to the UAE, as well as from various points in the Philippines to Taipei and Kaohshiung in Taiwan, and from Manila to key destinations in Russia.
The CAB has also approved Cebu Pacific’s request to be designated as an official carrier under the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services (MAAS). As soon as the Philippines completes the ratification of the relevant protocols of the MAAS, it will be permitted to operate unlimited flights between capital cities within the ASEAN region.