PH, Singapore agree to amend air services agreement

0
163
PH, Singapore to amend air services agreement
Changi airport. PortCalls file photo.
  • The Philippines and Singapore signed an MOU to amend their air services agreement with a view to further market liberalization
  • The MOU allows Singaporean and Philippine airlines to partner with third parties in the carriage of passengers via Singapore to or from Manila for up to 150 of their weekly services from just 35 weekly services in 2015
  • The ASA now allows the Philippines to designate airlines that are owned or controlled by nationals of other countries for as long as these airlines are incorporated in and maintain their principal place of business in Philippine territory

The Philippines and Singapore have signed a memorandum of understanding to amend their air services agreement (ASA) with a view to further market liberalization, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

After a two-day consultation, delegations from the two countries on May 9 signed the MOU to amend the ASA signed in 2015, to allow Singaporean and Philippine airlines to partner with third parties in the carriage of passengers via Singapore to or from Manila for up to 150 of their weekly services.

“This liberalization from just up to 35 weekly services in 2015 will significantly increase the diversity of passengers between the two countries because a single flight can operate for five or even more marketing partners from third countries,” DOTr said in a statement.

The department said this will inevitably develop new connections that may pave the way for direct and online services in the future.

The number of such services does not include those that are already open-market, such as flights between Manila and points within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or the European Union and those to/from all other points in the Philippines, and are set to double by March of 2026 before becoming unlimited in March 2027.

In addition, the ASA now allows the Philippines to, in the operation of air services under the agreement, designate airlines that are owned or controlled by nationals of other countries for as long as these airlines are incorporated in and maintain their principal place of business in Philippine territory.

DOTr said this will incentivize the entry of more investments into the Philippines and help develop its commercial aviation industry. This particular permission is in recognition of Republic Act No. 11659, or An Act Amending Commonwealth Act 146 otherwise known as the Public Service Act, which relaxes foreign ownership restrictions in certain industries.

The Philippine delegation was led by DOTr assistant secretary for aviation Enrique Antonio Esquivel, III and joined by Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla, Department of Tourism officer-in-charge (OIC) assistant secretary Judilyn Quiachon and OIC-assistant secretary Warner Andrada; Department of Labor and Employment assistant secretary Lennard Constantine Serrano, and Department of Foreign Affairs assistant secretary Raly Tejada.

Leading the Singapore delegation was Ministry of Transport deputy secretary for strategy, sustainability and transformation Yee Ping Yi. He was joined by senior deputy director for operations policy of the Ministry of Transport, Lydia Lau, and the director for air transport of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) Sidney Koh; CAAS market and policy development head Nicole Benny; CAAS market policy and development senior manager Adil Hakeem; and State Counsel of the Attorney- General’s Chambers Lu Yiwei.

READ: ASEAN, EU sign air transport agreement