Thursday, 12 February 2009

3 Middle East airline firms allowed to fly from Clark

Jacob Cunanan
Business Mirror

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga—The recent conclusion of air talks between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has yielded flight rights to Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and Air Arabia at the Clark airport.

Fifth freedom traffic rights on 14 weekly frequencies to and from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark were given to the two UAE airliners. Each one was granted seven weekly frequencies. Air Arabia was given 14 frequencies.

“The Age of Middle Eastern flights to the DMIA in the Clark Freeport is here,” said Clark International Airport Corp. president and chief executive officer Victor Jose I. Luciano during the recently concluded RP-UAE air consultation talks.

Clark, the home of the DMIA, acquired the biggest allocation in the RP-UAE air consultation talks with 42 frequencies per week with 14 flights by designated airlines given full fifth freedom traffic rights, except to the US, Canada and Japan.

“This will be good to our two million Filipinos in the Middle East, 40 percent of whom come from the northern Philippines,” Luciano pointed out.

An item in the Confidential Memorandum of Agreement signed following the conclusion of the air talks states that “in the case of the UAE, the two delegations agreed to allocate the above 42 additional weekly frequencies to and from Clark as follows: 14 frequencies for Category 1 Route 1 to which Emirates Airlines is entitled to; 14 frequencies for Category 1 Route 2 entitled to Etihad Airways; and, 14 frequencies for Category 1 Route 3 allotted for Air Arabia.

“The delegations further agreed that the designated airlines of the UAE shall have the right to exercise full fifth freedom traffic rights only up to 14 weekly frequencies between any intermediate point or points and DMIA (Clark) only, and any point or points beyond, except Japan, the US and Canada.”

The Philippine delegation advised the UAE air panel that the DMIA will become Airbus A380-compatible in 2010, which, Luciano said, has been made and evidenced by the landing of the Airbus A380 during its proving flight to the DMIA in October 2007.

The two delegations also agreed to allow the designated airlines of each side to operate up to 600 tons per week per direction to and from Cebu International Airport. Five additional weekly frequencies were allowed on each side to and from Manila, while 21 additional weekly frequencies for each side were allowed to and from Cebu International Airport as well as 21 additional weekly frequencies for each side to and from points in the Philippines other than Manila, DMIA and Cebu International Airport.

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