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Tue 2 Dec 2014 09:25 AM

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Dubai's Emirates downplays dispute over Manila services

Dubai airline denies it is seeking extra flights over Christmas after local carriers group together to protest

Dubai's Emirates downplays dispute over Manila services

Emirates Airline has downplayed a reported dispute about its services to Manila, saying it is not seeking the extra flights that has angered local carriers.

On Monday, it was reported that a group of Filipino airlines have come together to protest against what they consider an “unfair” decision by the country's aviation officials to allow Dubai’s Emirates to operate extra weekly flights to Manila over the lucrative Christmas period.

Rival airlines Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and its unit Tiger Airways Philippines have reportedly grouped together to oppose the decision, claiming it is in excess of the bilateral agreement between the two countries.

But in a statement to Arabian Business, Emirates said it is not seeking any additional flights to Manila "over and above its current operations".

A spokesperson for the Dubai-based airline, which has served Manila for 24 years, said: "Our third daily flight on the Dubai-Manila route was implemented in January 2013 and has since become an integral service which is extremely popular with travellers.

"Emirates has always developed its services to the Philippines in a progressive and measured way, in line with market demand and authorizations granted by the Philippine authorities. We of course fully respect the CAB and abide by its rules and procedures."

Local media reported that on November 26, Emirates was granted a 30-day extension by the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board to operate an additional seven flights a week between Dubai and Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, boosting its schedule to three flights a day.

In the statement, the Philippine carriers said the seven weekly flights went beyond the maximum under the existing Philippines-United Arab Emirates bilateral air agreement, the Inquirer.net news website reported.

“The Philippine carriers believe that the issuance of the extended grant to operate additional seven flights only worsens the current injurious situation, as Emirates had long been selling seats on these flights without prior CAB approval as required by RA 776,” the statement from the Filipino airlines said.

But Emirates added in its statement: "Emirates looks forward to its continued operations of three daily services to Manila. We are confident that the positive effect of these services will continue to ensure widespread and sustained benefits to all stakeholders.”

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