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The Philippines and Korea expand international air services agreement

The Philippines and Korea expand international air services agreement

Philippines and Korea sign new MOU to increase air service capacity, enhancing tourism and economic ties.

The Philippines and Korea agreed on Thursday, July 4, to further expand the already successful relationship in international air services between the two countries.

The two-day consultation talks between the delegations of the Philippines and Korea resulted in another fruitful Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with a view to improving the air services relations of the two countries by updating the capacity entitlements. For seven years since the last MOU was signed in 2017, the designated airlines of the Philippines and Korea could only operate up to 20,000 weekly seats each from Manila to points in Korea and vice versa.

In this recent move to liberalize the exercise of third and fourth freedom traffic, the two countries agreed to set a 30,000 weekly seat capacity exclusively for the Manila to Incheon, vice versa route and to impose no limits on flights from Manila to all other points in Korea. Flights from points outside Manila to all points in Korea continue to be open and without limits under the new MOU.

Korea has been the top tourism market of the Philippines since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The post-pandemic recovery is positively impacting the economy, with incoming Korean tourists already at 682,362 by May 2024, according to the Department of Tourism. The increase in capacity will be felt by the market once airlines take advantage of the opportunity to carry more passenger traffic between the capital cities of the two countries.

Finally, citing the mandate of the amended Public Services Act, the Philippine delegation proposed an amendment to the two countries’ air transport agreement that would allow the Philippines to designate its airlines on the basis of the airline having its principal place of business and place of incorporation in the Philippines. Though an agreement on the matter was not reached, the two delegations agreed to further discuss the same, along with Korea’s proposal to allow third country code-sharing arrangements, in the next round of consultations.

Leading the Philippine delegation was Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Airports, Atty. Enrique Antonio J. Esquivel III, joined by Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla, Department of Tourism Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, Department of Labor and Employment Assistant Secretary Lennard Constantine C. Serrano, and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Raly L. Tejada.

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