Emirates hopeful of new Philippines-UAE air talks

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EMIRATES is hoping the Philippines and United Arab Emirates (UAE) will restart talks to revise the air service agreement between the two countries.

“We’re hoping for the talks to happen again… soon and we will take it forward from there,” Sathish Sethi, Emirates country manager for the Philippines, said during a roundtable discussion on Thursday.

In April, air talks between the Philippines and UAE ended in a stalemate, as Philippine carriers opposed the request of UAE airlines to expand flights to Manila.

Emirates had wanted to add more flights to Manila, and expressed its intention to fly the A380 aircraft from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Mr. Sethi said Emirates has reached its full capacity in Manila, and that the new points of Clark and Cebu will also be “almost running on full capacity.”

Emirates operates 25 flights a week from the Philippines, 18 from Manila, and seven flights (one per day) which takes the Dubai-Cebu-Clark-Dubai trip.

“We have so much demand we can easily take four flights a day,” Mr. Sethi said. “It was unfortunate that we could not come to a decision, but it’s still not a closed door. We understand the point of view of the transportation department… We’re willing to work with them [until we] reach a level when it’s ready.” 

Emirates is seeing double-digit growth year-on-year, Mr. Sethi said.

Online bookings have also increased, accounting for a third of the business. Mr. Sethi said this is a “massive growth versus last year.” — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo