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Wed 11 Feb 2015 05:22 PM

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Emirates urges rethink in dispute over Manila flights

Dubai airline says removal of third daily flight will negatively impact consumers, overseas workers, economy

Emirates urges rethink in dispute over Manila flights

Emirates Airline on Wednesday urged authorities in the Philippines to reconsider its decision to withdraw its approval for the Dubai carrier's third daily flight to Manila.

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 on Wednesday, 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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