June 01, 2017 at 07:09 pm
Darwin G. Amojelar
The Philippines and Qatar agreed to increase flight entitlements by 28.5 percent in a bid to further expand trade and tourism between the two countries.
Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the Philippine air panel and its counterpart in Qatar expanded the memorandum of understanding on air services, adding four flights per week to 18 flights from the existing 14 flights per week.
“The new MoU is a landmark agreement because it includes as a condition to the operation of the additional four flights to Manila by Qatar Airways, that it likewise operate between Doha and Davao within one year from commencement of the four additional flights to Manila,” Arcilla said.
“It is perceived that the expansion of traffic rights between the Philippines and Qatar under the new MOU will enhance the connectivity between the two countries that will enable the further expansion of trade, investment, services and people to people exchange between the two countries,” Arcilla said.
He also said the inclusion of Davao in the route structure of Qatar Airways would provide much needed connectivity for Davao to the major markets of the world, especially that Qatar is directly connected to 161 international destinations.
This connectivity will support Davao’s emergence as a major economic and commercial hub of the Philippines.
The new MOU will also increase the flights of Qatar Airways to Manila by four additional flights.
It is likely that Qatar Airways will commence the operation of the four additional flights to Manila by October 2017 or March 2018.
Qatar Airways currently operates 14 flights per week between Doha and Manila and seven flights per week to Clark, while Philippine Airlines currently operates four flights between Manila and Doha.
The air talks marked the culmination of the bilateral talks between Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Minister Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Qatar Minister of Transport and Communications,during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the Middle East in April.