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Sun 22 Mar 2015 12:11 PM

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Boom in Expo jobs for Filipinos means we need more flights, says Emirates

Authorities in the Philippines fined Dubai airline in January and ordered it to stop operating its third daily flight, after protests from rival carriers

Boom in Expo jobs for Filipinos means we need more flights, says Emirates

With many of the estimated 275,000 new jobs which will be created in Dubai during the staging of the World Expo 2020 expected to be filled by Filipinos, Abdalla Al Zamani, country manager of Emirates Airline in the Philippines, said the countries need to increase the number of flights between the two countries.

The new jobs will be in the areas of medical services, engineering, and information technology, Al Zamani said at a press event in the Philippines, according to reports in the Philippines.

As a result of this, there is a need for more flights between the two countries and he urged the two countries to speed up bilateral talks on a new aviation agreement.

Emirates used to fly three times a day between Dubai and Manila until January, when the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in the Philippines fined Emirates and ordered it to stop the flights from January 26 following protests by local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Emirates' third daily flight on the Dubai-Manila route was implemented in January 2013 and the airline claimed it had become extremely popular with travellers.

But the local airlines, which operate their own Manila-Dubai flights, had asked CAB to stop Emirates from selling tickets for its third flight after Emirates ended its codeshare deal with Philippine Airlines earlier this year.

But in a statement issued last month, an Emirates spokesperson warned that the reduction in services would hit consumers in the Philippines as well as have a wider economic impact.

“We are disappointed at the decision of the Philippines authorities not to grant a further extension on our third daily flight from Manila to Dubai beyond 26 January.

"The reduction in services is likely to have a profoundly negative impact on consumers in the Philippines, overseas Filipino workers, and cause missed opportunities for tourism, exports, and the economy at large. We firmly believe that this exceptionally strong and growing route actually requires more, not less flights."

There are reportedly about 850,000 overseas Filipino workers in the UAE, a number which is expected to grow significantly in the lead-up to the emirate's hosting of the Expo 2020 event.

The spokesperson added that Emirates will continue to operate two daily flights from Manila but urged the CAB to reconsider its decision, and allow the resumption of Emirates' third daily flight "at the earliest opportunity".

"In the interest of consumers and the business community, we also hope that the long overdue bilateral aviation talks between the Governments of the Philippines and the UAE to address the urgent requirement for additional capacity on the Manila -  Dubai route will take place as soon as possible," the statement added.

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