“We will be holding air talks with South Africa on July 9-10,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said, citing the counterpart’s “long-standing request for South African airlines to operate in the Philippines.”
Mr. Arcilla said successful talks, which will enable Philippine carriers to fly directly to that country, will give Filipino workers an additional “jump-off point” to and from Africa.
The success of air talks with South Africa is expected to support the Tourism department’s goal of attracting 10 million foreign tourists by 2016, in addition to giving Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air another market to expand to.
PAL officials would not say if the carrier was looking at South Africa, although news reports last year said the flag carrier had expressed such interest.
Cebu Air, Inc. General Manager Alejandro B. Reyes had said at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Pasig City last month that the carrier was studying the business case of flying to South Africa. Dubai, Australia and Kuwait are currently Cebu Pacific’s long-haul destinations, but much its foreign operations have focused on East Asian markets.
Mr. Arcilla added that CAB would pursue similar talks with Israel. He had said last month that it was targeting air talks with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan this semester.
The Philippines and Macau last month inked a new air service agreement, increasing seat entitlement to 7,020 per week from 4,500 previously.
This year, the Philippines has so far concluded air talks with Canada, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and France. — Chrisee Jalyssa V. Dela Paz
Philippines, S. Africa in air talks