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CAB plans air talks with India, PNG, Switzerland

By Louella Desiderio | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) plans to hold air talks with counterparts in India, Papua New Guinea, and Switzerland within the year to promote tourism growth.

“We are just trying to agree on the dates. India, Papua New Guinea and Switzerland,” CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.

He said air talks with India would be held first, either in July or August, given the interest from local carriers to operate flights to that country.

“It’s (India) a big market. Many carriers are applying (for entitlements),” he said.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has filed a petition with the CAB to resume flights to New Delhi from Manila, as well as to operate flights to Bombay.

PAL had non-stop flights to New Delhi and one-stop services via Bangkok, but it discontinued both in 2011 and 2013, respectively, as there was not enough demand for the services.

Apart from PAL, low cost carriers Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia Inc. have also filed applications with the CAB to operate flights to India.

After India, Arcilla said air talks would also be held with Papua New Guinea.

“It’s a small market, but it’s an interesting market,” he said.

He said negotiations on an air services agreement would also be conducted with Switzerland following a request received by the Philippine government.

“They want to update the agreement,” he said.

Earlier, he said the Philippines has requested to conduct air talks with Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, and Australia due to interest of carriers to expand operations in those territories.

Last April, the Philippines and the Republic of Maldives conducted negotiations and agreed on an initial entitlement of 1,200 seats that can be flown by each party’s designated airlines per week between Manila and the Maldives.

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