Singapore-Philippines Expand Air Agreement

Singapore and the Philippines have agreed to expand flight rights and to increase service between the two respective countries following another round of successful air talks. The latest round of discussions took place on February 5 and 6 after the two countries failed to reach an agreement in 2012 over outstanding issues.
Image Source: Conejo Church
According to Carmelo Arcilla, Executive Director of the Civil Aeronautics Board, a memorandum of understanding was signed on February 7 regarding an updated air services agreement. "The parties signed a new MOU on air services expanding the exchange of traffic rights between the two countries," said Arcilla.

Under the new agreement, there will be an increase in the number of seats between Manila and Singapore from the current 13,800 to approximately 17,600 per week for each country. In addition, fifth freedom traffic rights have been included in the new agreement with the addition of China for Singapore and India for the Philippines. Fifth freedom rights enable a carrier to land in a different country and to fly passengers on to a third country. In this case, a Philippine carrier may now fly to Singapore, pick up passengers and continue on to India. 

The new fifth freedom rights complement existing fifth freedom rights to Osaka and Seoul for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok for the Philippines. The expanded air agreement is part of a continuing effort by the Aquino administration to achieve 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2016. Singapore is currently served by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Tigerair Philippines. The agreement also permits unlimited flights between Singapore and points outside of Manila in accordance with the current Philippine policy on air liberalization.

Cebu Pacific plans to ask the Civil Aeronautics Board for an additional 3,000 seats per week between Manila and Singapore. According to Jorenz TaƱada, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs, the airline wants 3,780 additional seats on the route. Under the previous agreement between the two nations that gave the Philippines 12,847 seat entitlements to Singapore, Cebu Pacific held 6,417. A formal application is expected to be submitted by the airline to the Civil Aeronautics Board in the near future. Singapore is one of only two international destinations in the Asia  Pacific region currently served by Cebu Pacific's 436-seat wide-body Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

Meanwhile, the government continues to pursue air service agreement talks with other countries in order to revise outdated air agreements as airlines seek additional capacity to expand to more international destinations. The next round of talks is scheduled with New Zealand on March 5 and 6. The Philippines is also pursuing talks with Indonesia, Myanmar, and Taiwan. Countries like Canada, Ethiopia, and Egypt are also interested in pursuing another round of air talks. Talks with Australia were attempted last year but the two sides failed to reach an agreement. However, the country remains a priority as a key source market for tourists and a home to several overseas Filipino workers. 


  1. This is all well and good. But the real problem is that Manila's international airport is overstretched and with only one major runway, is at capacity.
    The failure by Philippine authorities to do anything to change the dismal situation at Manila is going to impede growth and continue to be a risk to the safety of passengers.

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