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Mon 1 Dec 2014 11:32 AM

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Filipino airlines protest at gov't allowing Emirates to boost Manila flights over Christmas holidays

Local carriers say "unfair" decision to award Dubai airline more flights during lucrative December holiday period will hurt their business

Filipino airlines protest at gov't allowing Emirates to boost Manila flights over Christmas holidays

Filipino airlines have grouped 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, claiming it will hurt their revenues during the lucrative holiday season, it was reported.

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.

Rival airlines Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and its unit Tiger Airways Philippines have grouped together to oppose the decision, claiming it is in excess of the bilateral agreement between the two countries and will hurt their businesses over the lucrative December period when Filipino workers are returning home from the Middle East for Christmas.

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 Filipino airlines first raised objections to the extension awarded to Emirates on October 13 when the CAB granted Emirates a 30-day extension through to November 26 to operate seven extra weekly flights. The latest extension to December 26 is unfair, they believe, as they claim the CAB has no authority to award a 60-day extension.

“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.

“This constitutes blatant disregard of the CAB’s authority and thus the Philippine carriers respectfully appeal to the CAB to take the immediate and necessary action to cause this foreign carrier to cease and desist its defiance of the Philippine government, in the interest of fair competition and the growth of the Philippine aviation industry,” it added.

“If Emirates truly wants to expand its service into the Philippines, it has every opportunity to put up new flights to Clark, Cebu or other Philippine international airports outside of Manila,” the carriers said in the statement.

A CAB spokesperson was not immediately available for comment, the Inquirer.net report said. Arabian Business has contacted Emirates for comment on the issue and is awaiting a reply.

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