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India-Philippines: rapid growth, A321neo technology leads to Cebu Pacific-PAL traffic rights battle

Direct flights in the fast growing India-Philippines market are likely to resume by 2018, with service from at least one Philippine carrier. Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Philippines AirAsia are all seeking traffic rights to serve India and are keen to serve Delhi.

PAL suspended nonstop service to Delhi 2011, and one-stop services via Bangkok in 2013. The Manila-Delhi market quickly proved to be too small back in 2011 to support nonstop services, but it has since more than doubled in size, making the route more viable. New generation narrowbody technology also significantly improves the route’s prospect.

PAL and Cebu Pacific would both use the A321neo on Manila-Delhi. Philippines AirAsia could potentially use the A320neo to operate the route nonstop in the future, but is initially seeking rights via Bangkok using A320ceos. The Cebu Pacific and PAL nonstop proposals are more likely to sway Philippine authorities, who will soon have to decide on how to allocate the only seven weekly Philippines-India frequencies available under the two countries' air services agreement.

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