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AIRLINE UNITY. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (center) joins the presidents of local airlines and top global aviation officials in a show of unity at the conclusion of the first Philippine Aviation Day organized by the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) and sponsored by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Shown, starting 4th from left - CEBGo president Alexander Lao; PAL Express president Bonifacio U. Sam; Rafael Garchitorena of Deutsche Bank; Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general; Sec. Tugade; PAL president Jaime J. Bautista; Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei; and Philippines AirAsia president Capt. Dexter Comendador.

Local airlines vow to work with government, seek regulatory, infra support

The first Philippine Aviation Day – put together by the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) – gathered key aviation stakeholders who saw the opportunity for local aviation to gain from the ongoing regional air travel boom.

ACAP charter chairman (& Philippine Airlines President) Jaime J. Bautista said the air transport sector makes a major impact on the local economy. “Local air travel continues to connect people around the world while providing ease of travel and cost competitiveness.”

While ACAP members – Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, PAL Express, CEBGo, Philippines AirAsia – are rival airlines, “we compete aggressively in a healthy contest where there can be only one winner: the flying public. The result is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic domestic aviation networks in the world,” added Bautista.

At the summit’s conclusion, ACAP member airlines passed two key resolutions:

1. ACAP pledges to work in partnership with Philippine government agencies and concerned stakeholders for the advancement of Philippine civil aviation; and

2. ACAP endorses the urgent recommendations adopted recently by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) calling for Asia/Pacific governments to invest in aviation infrastructure and air traffic management systems “to meet the projected growth in demand for air transport” and “to avoid unnecessary congestion, delays and inconvenience to the traveling public”; to refrain from increasing the taxation burden on airlines and “avoid unjustified or discriminatory taxes” affecting aviation; to strengthen multilateral cooperation on aviation security and coordinate with all stakeholders before implementing new border control measures; and to support the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) measures to control aviation emissions.

ACAP carriers recognize that the local air travel industry faces serious challenges. “We no longer enjoy the benefits of low fuel prices. We wrestle with infrastructure limitations, starting with serious limitations of our primary airport in Manila, and constraints in airports north and south of the capital,” said Bautista.

ACAP is seeking the support of government to provide a regulatory environment that gives airlines the flexibility and latitude needed to do business and respond to market conditions.

At the Aviation Day summit, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the Philippine government to maximize the economic and social benefits that aviation can bring to the country by (1) addressing airport infrastructure deficiencies in Manila, (2) abandoning proposals for increased taxation on aviation and (3) adopting Smarter Regulation Principles.

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