Besides Tiger Airways, which aimed for ‘unlimited seats’ to Japan, other airlines in the Philippines are also seeking more seats to fly to Japan. Flag carrier Philippine Airlines and other low-cost carriers like Cebu Air Inc. and AirAsia, together with Zest Airways Inc., have shown their interest in bringing more passengers to major cities in Japan, as often as possible. All carriers mentioned have filed their application to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for more seat entitlement to Japan.
The two countries finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on September 13 that lifts the ban keeping Philippines from offering more flights to Japan. With the new agreement, a maximum of 400 flights have been granted from the previous 119 for flights between Manila and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. They have also been allowed to fly up to 14 times a week. Excluding these two airports, the MOU has allowed unlimited air traffic rights between points in Japan and the Philippines.
Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) is hoping to fly 14 times a week from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila to Narita International Airport beginning October 27. It is also looking for flights from Manila to Haneda 14 times a week beginning March of 2014. The flag carrier of the Philippines is also aiming for 100 more aircrafts, which would be beneficial for its new flight plans to Japan. PAL Express, the low-cost regional carrier of PAL, have also set 14 flights a week to Haneda and seven flights a week to Narita, both via NAIA. Via Mactan International Airport in Cebu, PAL Express is looking for a chance to fly to Narita.
Besides securing more seat entitlement, Cebu Pacific wants to beef up its fleet by purchasing 49 more Airbus aircrafts to be delivered this year until 2021. Currently, Cebu Pacific has 47 aircrafts and is already flies to Kansai International Airport near Osaka. The carrier wants to increase its seat entitlement by including Cebu, in addition to Manila, as departing site in the Philippines going to nine major cities in Japan. Beginning February next year, flights via Cebu and Manila will be available.
Flights via NAIA will be flying to Haneda seven times a week in February, which will also take flights to Narita. There will also be flights to Fukuoka in April and to Okinawa in May next year. Flights to Nagoya via NAIA will take off the month after, while flights to Hiroshima and Sapporo will begin in October next year. To increase flights from Cebu, seats have been requested for the cities of Narita and Kansai beginning October next year while flight to Nagoya will take off two months later.
Tiger Airways Philippines, which is aiming for unlimited seats to Japan, will be taking 56 flights to Narita and Osaka via NAIA, Clark International Airport in Pampanga, and Kalibo International Airport in Aklan. Zest Airways, which is a sister company of AirAsia Inc. Philippines, is seeking for 32 flights to Nagoya, Narita, and Osaka via Manila, Kalibo, and Cebu beginning October next year.
According to Carmelo Arcilla, executive director of CAB, “This is a major breakthrough, especially since Japan is a major and third biggest tourism market for the Philippines, and also since the last talks was held in 2008, and the current Philippine entitlements are almost fully utilized.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has granted multiple-entry visas for the Philippines as part of its efforts to attract tourists from Southeast Asia.