UAE and Philippines sign initial pact to approve Airbus A380 operations

Agreement also stipulates increasing tripling air cargo volumes between the countries

The UAE and Philippines have signed an initial pact to boost aviation relations, including approval of Airbus A380 aircraft operations. Photo: Emirates
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The UAE and Philippines signed an initial pact to boost air connectivity between the two countries, including approving the start of Airbus A380 operations, amid growing travel demand.

The preliminary agreement also stipulates increasing the national carriers’ flights and tripling air cargo volumes to 600 tonnes per week for each national airline, state-run news agency Wam said on Wednesday.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and its counterpart, the Philippines's Civil Aeronautics Board, signed the initial agreement in the province of Cebu after a round of talks last week.

The UAE's policies have led to "adopting an open skies policy, which has boosted its competitiveness, openness, and economic flexibility, as well as its regional and global leadership", Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the GCAA, said.

“The GCAA prioritises strengthening aviation co-operation frameworks in strategic markets for national carriers to support their operations in international markets and ensure their direct access to economic, commercial and tourism markets,” he added.

Dubai-based Emirates, the world's biggest long-haul carrier, operates the biggest fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos.

The airline currently operates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to the Filipino capital city of Manila, as well as Cebu and Clark, its website states.

Emirates operates 18 weekly flights to Manila with a three-class Boeing 777, making it the only carrier offering a first-class cabin on flights to the city, a representative said.

It also offers daily flights to Clark via Cebu with a three-class Boeing 777 widebody.

The preliminary pact to boost aviation ties comes as the Philippines seeks to increase investment from the UAE and the wider Middle East while it implements a series of reforms and rolls out incentives to boost infrastructure development and its economy.

Bilateral relations were strengthened in 2021 and 2022 after the signing of initial pacts such as the agreement to boost mutual investments and protect them from non-commercial risks in June last year, and the beginning of talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, or Cepa, the previous February.

In 2022, the UAE ranked as the 17th major trading partner for the Philippines.

Updated: September 28, 2023, 8:58 AM