PH, South Korea eye more flights




09:28 PM April 1st, 2012

By: Paolo G. Montecillo, April 1st, 2012 09:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines—The governments of the Philippines and South Korea are set to negotiate for more flights between the two countries this week amid rising demand coming from both sides.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which heads the multi-agency Philippine air panel, said over one million passengers from South Korea are expected to come to the Philippines this year.

Negotiations for additional flight entitlements to cope with increasing demand would be held in Seoul on April 1 and 2. The talks with South Korea would be the first bilateral discussions for the Philippines this year.

“There is a lot of demand for travel between the two countries. Both local and Korean airlines have clamored for this,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said in an interview.

Both sides seek to amend the current air services agreement (ASA) that allows for 19,000 seats between the two countries every week. Most of these entitlements are flown out of Manila, although local airlines already have flights to South Korea from secondary points like Cebu, Clark, Caticlan and Kalibo.

Next to the United States-home to millions of Filipino-born naturalized American citizens-South Korea is the top source of foreign tourists for the Philippines.

“There were 960,000 passengers from South Korea last year. This year, we expect that to hit one million,” Arcilla said.

At the negotiations, the Philippine air panel has the option of signing an “open skies” deal with South Korean counterparts. This would remove restrictions on the number of allowed flights to all points in the Philippines outside of the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila.

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