Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Philippine Government considering open skies policy to address PAL labor crisis

President Benigno Aquino III is considering liberalizing the rules for international aviation markets by minimizing government intervention.

Aquino told reporters today that the government is studying the implementation of the open skies policy, which will allow more flights to enter the country and abolish the pre-set flight limit currently imposed.

"Having a total open skies policy or a partial open skies policy which was done somewhere in the late 1990s is already being studied," Aquino said.

Aquino did not provide more details but cited the benefits of having an open skies policy. In Indonesia for instance, tourist arrival ballooned to three million from just 30,000 visitors, he said.

In the Philippines, tourist arrival has reached three million and the government is projecting to double the figure in two years.

The statement however came at a time when the Philippines' flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is being hounded by labor issues that forced it to cancel a number of its flights earlier due to lack of pilots.

PAL's senior pilots have moved to international airlines where the pay is higher.

Meanwhile, its 1,600-cabin crew members is threatening to go on strike as negotiation between crew and the management over various labor-related issues have reached a deadlock.

Aquino is urging both the PAL management and the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines to address their differences, noting that PAL is engaged in a business that involves the national interest.

PAL is among the two biggest airlines in the Philippines and is the oldest in Asia.

"I recognize that perhaps both sides have issues. But at the same time, the primary issue that I will have to side with is the interest of the riding (public), the bigger population of our country," he said in a press conference.

Posted via email from Aviation Professionals dot Org

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