Maldives, Philippines move closer to direct flights with air services pact

Maldives and Philippines on Tuesday signed an air services agreement, paving the way for direct flights between the two countries.

The agreement allows for an initial 1,200 seats that can be flown weekly by designated airlines. Because of the Philippines’ pocket open skies policy, flights originating from or destined for points outside Manila will be unlimited.

After months of letter exchanges, the agreement was finalised in a two-day meeting in Manila.

The Philippine panel was led by representatives of its Department of Foreign Affairs and joined by officials from the Department of Transportation, Civil Aeronautics Board, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Labor and Employment.

The Maldives delegation was composed of the Chairperson, Chief Executive and senior officials of the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority.

Although tourist arrivals to the Maldives from Philippines are relatively low, it has shown growth over the past two years. Arrivals from Philippines stood at 10,532 last year which was an increase of 10.3 percent over the 9,551 in the previous year.

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