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Philippines, Ethiopia sign air agreement

Staff writer |
The Philippines and Ethiopia have signed a landmark deal that allows their flag carriers to mount flights between the two countries.

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"The Philippines and Ethiopia signed yesterday in Manila an Air Services Agreement (ASA) that defined the aviation relationship and the exchange of traffic rights between the two countries," Carmelo Arcilla, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director said in a text message after the two-day air talks.

Arcilla said the agreement allows for 7 flights per week between Manila and Ethiopia, and unlimited flights between Ethiopia and other airports in the Philippines other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"The agreement also allows intermediate stops in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, India and the Middle East," Arcilla said.

Ethiopia sought the air agreement given its aggressive expansion in Asia, Arcilla said.

Ethiopian Airlines already flies to Hong Kong, Beijing, Guanzhou, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul.

"Although the current traffic between the Philippines and Ethiopia is small, the ASA can open up new connectivities between the Philippines and Africa, including the Middle East, given Ethiopia's location in North East Africa and it's being an aviation hub in that region, that serves as a transit point for passengers from other African countries and the Middle East," Arcilla said.

"The agreement therefore offers opportunities for the enhancement of our air connectivity and the development of our aviation network, especially that Africa is an emerging market and growth area," he added.

The Aquino administration is pursuing more air talks as part of its open skies policy, which aims to double tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2016. Tourist arrivals grew by 9.56 percent year-on-year to 4.68 million in 2013.

For 2014, the Philippines is aiming for 5.4 million international tourist arrivals.

Since the start of this year, the Philippines has concluded air negotiations with South Africa, Macau, Canada, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and France.

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