Subic - Kuwait flights inked; RP, Kuwait agree on more flights | SubicNewsLink

19 February 2009

Subic - Kuwait flights inked; RP, Kuwait agree on more flights

MANILA - Local carriers can now mount more flights to Kuwait with the conclusion of air talks between the Philippines and the oil-rich Arab emirate.

From only six, the Philippines is now entitled to 29 weekly flights to Kuwait.

The additional 23 entitlements were approved yesterday afternoon, said Porvenir P. Porciuncula, deputy executive director of the Civil Aeronautics Board.

The 29 flights are divided as follows: Manila, eight flights; Subic, 14; and Cebu, Davao and other airports, seven. A fifth freedom right was also given to flights from Clark, allowing carriers to pick up a passenger from Kuwait before flying to another destination in a third country.

The Philippine negotiating panel was headed by the acting board chairman, Doroteo A. Reyes. The Civil Aeronautics Board is scheduled to start air talks with Bahrain, Brunei, and Australia this year.

The government has been going after flight entitlements to several countries to address an expected increase in air travel.

Mr. Porciuncula downplayed any potential hesitation local carriers may have in competing with Middle Eastern airlines — which have access to cheaper fuel — noting that fuel costs have dipped.

Lance Y. Gokongwei, president of Cebu Pacific, said the low-cost carrier is considering flights to Kuwait."We are always looking at possible route network expansion and we are studying the possibility of mounting flights to Kuwait," Mr. Gokongwei said.

Officials of Philippine Airlines were not available for comment. (Jose Bimbo F. Santos, Business Online)