Philippines and New Zealand Expand Air Agreement, Complements New Working Holiday Program

The Philippines and New Zealand concluded a new round of air talks on March 6, reaching an agreement to expand traffic rights and increase the number of seats between the two countries. 

philippines new zealand air agreement
Copyright Photo: Conde Naste Traveller
According to Carmelo Arcilla, Executive Director of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the two countries agreed to increase traffic rights for each country from the current 3 flights per week up to 21 flights each per week. He added that the 21 flights per week limitation only applies to Metro Manila and that for points outside of Manila, the number of flights is unlimited in accordance with national policies regarding air liberalization. 

The new agreement also includes fifth freedom rights which is permission to fly passengers to a third country from the country in which the air agreement exists. In this case, airlines from New Zealand may now fly to the Philippines, pick up passengers and continue on to China. Philippine carriers will be granted fifth freedom rights to Australia. 

Although no carriers currently have plans for direct service between New Zealand and the Philippines, the introduction of fifth freedom rights will serve as a incentive that may help to make possible future routes viable and sustainable. "The enhanced fifth freedom can provide better opportunities for carriers to support start-up operations," said Arcilla. 

The two countries have also added third country code sharing to their agreement that enables airlines to market indirect but more seamless service between the two nations through agreements with airlines from third countries. This will also help to assist in market development. Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are currently evaluating new route opportunities in Australia in an effort to serve overseas Filipino workers and to tap into the incredible potential of Australian tourists as a source market for Philippine tourism. 

Last month, the New Zealand and Philippine governments announced that they had agreed upon a Working Holiday Scheme for young citizens of both countries between the ages of 18 and 30. Under the scheme, participants may enroll in study or training programs for up to three months or work for up to one year with a limit of three months per employer. Participants will be required to leave the country at the end of the temporary twelve month visa and only 100 visas will be issued each year to successful Filipino applicants. The working holiday scheme is the first of its kind for the Philippines while New Zealand holds working holiday agreements with 34 other countries. The new program is designed to create further understanding and goodwill between the two nations through cultural, educational, and tourism exchanges. 

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the Embassy of New Zealand in Makati. 

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