19-Nov-2010 8:35 AM

Philippines to implement 'pocket open skies policy'

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III announced plans to adopt a “pocket open skies” policy for the country by year-end (GMANews.TV/Manila Bulletin, 18-Nov-2010). The government plans to “pursue full implementation” of Executive Order No 219 issued by the government in 1995 to boost tourism and investments. Mr Aquino III stated the order has had a “dramatic” impact on domestic tourism, providing passengers with a “wider range of choices and travel opportunities”. Details of the open skies policy are to be issued soon. The order states the country should have at least two international carriers as flag carriers and the exchange of traffic rights and international routes should be based on national interest, “which shall include value for the Philippines in terms of promoting international trade, foreign investments and tourism, among others" including the principle of reciprocity or "the exchange of rights, freedoms, and opportunities of equal or equivalent value”. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) will determine what is in the “national interest”. The government has also started work on a new campaign to “re-brand the country as a tourist destination”.

Philippine Airlines welcomed (18-Nov-2010) the liberalisation plans, stating it will continue to work with the government to attract more foreign tourists to the country. [more]

Philippines Government: “Our national development requires promoting an open and competitive international aviation sector that enables Philippine and foreign air carriers to expand their operations, maintain a strong Philippine-based aviation industry, and ensure international connectivity in order to allow Philippine and foreign air carriers to plan and make long-term investments in the Philippine market. In the past, we liberalised telecommunications, trade and foreign investments. The change in the country’s investment policies has been a crucial factor in building up confidence in the economic prospects of the country. This is what we will do with aviation,” Benigno Aquino III, President. Source: GMANews.TV, 18-Nov-2010.

Philippine Airlines: "We welcome the President's vision to promote a competitive international aviation sector anchored on 'a strong Philippine-based aviation industry', which we firmly believe is indispensable to the development of Philippine tourism, trade and economic progress," Jaime Bautista, President and COO. Source: Philippine Airlines, 18-Nov-2010.

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