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Aquino signs EO to adopt ‘open skies’ policy

By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:51:00 03/18/2011

Filed Under: Air Transport, Government, agreements, Tourism

MANILA, Philippines?President Benigno Aquino III has signed an executive order authorizing the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Philippine air agreement negotiating panels to aggressively pursue an open skies policy in the country.

He also issued an executive order reorganizing the Philippine panels that would negotiate the country?s air service agreements.

The President issued the two EOs to fully liberalize the country?s aviation industry and benefit tourism, trade and investment.

EO 29, signed on March 14, authorizes the Philippine air panels to offer third, fourth and fifth freedom rights to the country?s airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) without restriction as to frequency, capacity, type of aircraft and other arrangements that will serve the national interest as may be determined by the CAB.

Conditions

EO 29 authorizes the CAB to impose a period or other conditions on the availment or use by foreign carriers of such additional frequencies.

It prevents the CAB from granting foreign air carriers cabotage rights or the right to transport passengers and goods from two points in the Philippines.

EO 28, signed on the same day, reorganizes the Philippine air negotiating panel and the Philippine air consultation panel.

Under EO 28, the Philippine air negotiating panel would be responsible for the initial negotiations that should lead to the conclusion of air service agreements.

The secretary of trade or a duly authorized representative will be its chair while its members will come from the Departments of Transportation and Communication and Tourism, and the executive director of the CAB.

The Philippine air consultation panel will be tasked with undertaking the succeeding negotiations of the air service agreements or similar agreements.

The secretary of transportation will chair the consultation panel while the CAB executive director will be the vice chair. The members will come from the Departments of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, Labor and Employment and Tourism.

Benefit of travellers

EO 28 authorizes the chair of the consultation panel to designate other parties as observers but may appoint additional members to the consultation panel only with the approval of the President or the executive secretary.

President Aquino said there was a need to spur competition in the local aviation industry by encouraging more carriers to fly to the Philippines for the greater benefit of travelers.

EO 29 authorizes the Philippine air negotiating panel to grant third, fourth and fifth freedom rights to the country?s airports other than the NAIA subject to existing guidelines.

Third freedom

Third freedom rights refer to the freedom of an airline to carry traffic from a home country to another country for the purpose of commercial services.

A fourth freedom right is the privilege to pick up traffic from another country to a home country for commercial services, while the fifth freedom right is given to a carrier to carry traffic between two foreign countries on a flight that either originated in or is destined for the carrier?s home country.

?With this we look forward to an increase in traffic coming in to the Philippines that we hope will bring in more tourists, more investments and spur competition in the Philippine aviation industry and allow it to be competitive internationally,? said Communication Secretary Ramon Carandang in a news briefing.



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