Philippine Airlines: Flights to Italy Closer to Reality

Flights between the Philippines and Italy came closer to reality as the Civil Aeronautics Board concluded successful negotiations with their counterparts in Italy establishing a new air services agreement after more than four decades. 

philippine airlines rome milan
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
According to Carmelo Arcilla, CAB Executive Director, the last agreement between the two countries was signed in 1969 and only permitted one flight per week. "There are 170,000 Filipinos in Italy," said Arcilla. "We got 14 flights per week between the Philippines and Italy."

Philippine Airlines declared that it plans to serve Italy and other European nations following the lifting of the EU ban in July. Last January, Philippine Airlines urged the Philippine government to prioritize Italy, France, and Japan among other countries for negotiations of new flight rights. The airline said that it intended to launch flights to to the commercial hub of Milan with daily service using its Boeing 777 or A330 aircraft which are both capable of long-haul flights. 

According to PAL Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Socorro Gonzaga, additional negotiations were needed because the existing air agreement established in 1969 did not grant access to Milan or any other points outside of Rome. Under the new agreement, Philippine Airlines will be able to serve both Milan and Rome. "Rome and Milan can also be a jump off point for traffic between Southern Europe and the Philippines," said Arcilla. 

Philippine Airlines also indicated a plan to fly to France but has cited the need to update the existing bilateral agreement with France that was last established in 1989. PAL is hoping to benefit during the next round of negotiations with France from an enhanced bilateral relationship following previous meetings between President Aquino and the French Prime Minister in Manila along with major contributions to France-based Airbus with large orders from both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. But air talks are not scheduled until early in 2014 meaning that it is unlikely that any direct air service to Paris will be established this year. The next round of air talks is scheduled with Japan from September 11 to 13. 

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines is seeking regulatory approval to impose fuel surcharges on its upcoming flights to Europe. In a petition filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board, Philippine Airlines indicated that it would like to impose a $170 fuel surcharge on Europe-bound flights. PAL has identified London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Madrid as its target international routes for Europe to be launched in the near future.

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