The governments of the Philippines and Switzerland signed a new air services agreement, which is expected to lead to a notable increase in flights between the two countries.
The agreement was signed by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Tamayo and Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Andrea Reichlin, in ceremonies witnessed by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and a Swiss business delegation on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.
The new air services agreement was designed to comply with the current regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and agreements that the Philippines has entered into with other countries over the past years.
“Capacity and route network provisions had to be brought up to speed with our current policy on improving connectivity and our carriers’ international expansion plans,” Tamayo said in a text message to reporters.
Both countries are working to increase direct flights within a year after the date of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
“The delegations agreed that the designated airlines of both parties may exercise unlimited direct flights with third and fourth freedom traffic rights between Switzerland and the Philippines, except to Zurich and Manila, for which 7 frequencies per week per side was agreed on. These will be increased to 14 frequencies each side one year after the date of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding,” according to Tamayo.
The negotiation for a new air agreement was commenced last July and formally concluded with its signing on Tuesday.
The DOTr official likewise said that Switzerland may become a viable origin or destination for fifth freedom operations that will cover flights to at least 17 European, Middle Eastern or Asian countries, with which the Philippines has air agreements.
The Philippines and Switzerland are negotiating for an efficient way of operating the flying rights, through the implementation of code share agreements, which may be done between airlines of the same party, of both parties, or even airlines of either party and third countries.
“These arrangements are conditioned on all participating airlines having the appropriate route and traffic rights, and in case of thirrd country code sharing, the third country airline should only fly direct flights between Switzerland and its home country (the third country) should allow similar agreements with Switzerland and the Philippines,” Tamayo stated.
The Philippines’ Air Services Agreement with Switzerland was originally executed on March 8, 1952 and was last amended in 1994. (Aerol John Pateña/PNA)