Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Consultation set on controversial open-skies policy

Original article at Pinoypress

MANILA — The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) will hold a forum titled “Save our Skies (SOS) or Open Skies: View from Both Sides” on July 5, 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the J.V. Del Rosario Room, AIM Conference Center.

The issue on SOS, which hinges on reciprocity rights for the Philippine aviation industry, and open skies, has been the subject of debates in recent months. While open skies advocates point out that liberalization of the air transport industry is a catalyst for economic growth and the first step towards the fulfillment of the vision to make the Philippines a transport and logistics hub for the Asia-Pacific region, SOS proponents argue that the country’s skies are part of the sovereign territory and national patrimony and hence, flight entitlement by foreign carriers must be evaluated on the basis of reciprocity, the welfare of the local aviation industry and national interest.

Open skies is an aviation principle that allows foreign airlines to operate unlimited services in another country. The principle of reciprocity implies that for every frequency of flight allowed to a foreign carrier, the local carrier is also allowed an equal amount of market share to passenger traffic and cargo to the second country.

The forum will take up the issue on how reciprocal or open skies relate to the competitiveness of the Philippine air transportation and tourism industries. The forum aims to come up with a critical mass of information upon which a conclusive position can be crafted.

Secretary Leandro Mendoza of the Department of Transportation and Communication and Director Evelyn Cajigal of the Department of Tourism will be giving the overview. Other speakers are Sen. Wigberto Tañada of Fair Trade Alliance, Robert Lim Joseph of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, Victor Luciano of Clark International Airport Corporation, Jojo Clemente of Philippine Travel Agencies Association, and a representative from Philippine Airlines who will be presenting their respective positions on the issue at hand.

Registration fee is PhP 500.00. Interested parties may contact Ms. Julie Legaspi of the PCCI Secretariat at telephone numbers 896-4549/ 52/ 53 or you may also e-mail julie.legaspi@philippinechamber.com

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