Philippine airlines decry “unfair” competition from Emirates

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine carriers are protesting the Civil Aviation Aeronautics Board’s decision (CAB) to allow Emirates to increase its Dubai-Manila flights despite exceeding its allowabl

Philippine airlines decry “unfair” competition from Emirates

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine carriers are protesting the Civil Aviation Aeronautics Board’s decision (CAB) to allow Emirates to increase its Dubai-Manila flights despite exceeding its allowable capacity at the country’s most congested airport.

Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines (PAL) said Emirates should not be granted an increase in service capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), citing Executive Order No. 29.

PAL and Cebu Pacific explained that the move is a “mockery” of government regulations, bypassing limits laid down by bilateral aviation agreements.

“We believe that the grant of these unwarranted extra flights to Middle Eastern carriers distorts competition and undermines the investments of Philippine air carriers in building a truly competitive air route to the UAE (United Arab Emirates),” they said.

Both airlines are referring to CAB’s decision grant Emirates until December 26 to operate 7 weekly flights between Dubai and Manila.

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“We look to CAB to work with the Philippine air carriers in growing the Philippine aviation industry and allow us to compete with foreign carriers in a level playing field,” the local airlines said in a joint statement.

Under EO 29, foreign carriers can only increase their capacities in all the country’s airports except at NAIA.

“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,” they explained.

The foreign airline’s route to the Dubai International Airport departs from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), and vice versa. As of 2013, it has flown over 820,000 passengers on the said long-haul service.

The dispute can be traced back to PAL and Emirates’ rivalry years back when the two airlines were at odds over the rights to service the lucrative Manila-Dubai flights.

In 2013, PAL and Cebu Pacific began mounting direct flights in the UAE for the first time in years.

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