By: Cassandra Lee, InterAksyon.com
May 23, 2015 1:12 PM
MANILA – The Philippines and Qatar will review their air agreement next week amid pressure from the Middle Eastern country to increase flights.
The two-day talks scheduled to start May 27 at Doha will center on Qatar Airways’ bid for 13 more weekly flights between the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Hamad International Airport.
If the Philippine air panel agrees, Qatar Airways will end up with 21 flights a week, the most number for any Middle Eastern carrier that flies to Manila.
Qatar Airways also flies to Clark International Airport seven times a week.
The Philippines is averse to granting more flights amid the congestion at NAIA, and is warmer to adding more flights to Clark.
“The current bilateral market does not justify an expansion of traffic rights at this time,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.
“The current operations of Qatar Airways between the Philippines and Qatar is actually way above the demand for air travel between the two countries,” he said.
The Philippines is holding air talks with different countries to boost tourism. But under Executive Order No. 29, the Aquino administration is partial to expanding flights to secondary airports, such as Clark, while restricting access to NAIA, which is already congested.