Friday, August 29, 2008

Civil Aviation News

MANILA, Philippines — A pending bill in the House of Representatives seeks to encourage air travel and tourism by further liberalizing commercial air travel.

House Bill 4314 proposes the alignment of existing rules and regulations governing domestic and international air and sea travel and tourism.

"The country has become the laggard today in Southeast Asia with only some three million tourist arrivals a year, while most of our neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore have achieved tens of millions of tourist arrivals. Even latecomers in the industry like Vietnam and Cambodia have overtaken the country already," said Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Antonio Cerilles, author of the bill, in a statement on the House of Representatives website (

Cerilles said even if R.A. 9497 seeks to ensure efficiency and safety of commercial air travel operation, there remains a pressing need to address the "commercial and aero-political aspects" of the industry.

RA 9497, signed into law in March 2008, creates the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

In filing his bill, Cerilles said the Philippines was once the leading tourism country in the 1960s but has deteriorated in terms of growth and development in the travel and tourism industry.

He said the continuing clamor for liberalization of commercial aviation will sufficiently address not only the needs of tourists but also of millions of OFWs.

Also, he said no Filipino carrier operates in any part of the Middle East and Europe, including the Eastern Seaboard of the United States where many Filipino seamen fly to catch up with their ocean-going vessels in New York City and Miami.

"Most of the world-class tourism destinations of the country are located outside Metro Manila. We need to facilitate the travel of tourists from their point of origin to the final tourism destinations and thus there is a need to improve the tourist facilities in the major airports of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao," Cerilles said.

Cerilles added the move will result in the decongestion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which can no longer cope with the influx of tourist arrivals for lack of facilities, and which now also needs expansion since it is located in a highly urbanized and populated area. - GMANews.TV

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