Philippines and China agrees to increase flights

The Philippines and China have agreed to increase flights from the two countries to bring in more tourists from both sides, a signal of warming relations between the two Asian nations following the friction caused by the August 23 hostage-taking incident in Manila that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.In a Memorandum of Understanding signed last week, the two countries agreed to allow designated airlines to operate an additional 3,500 seats per week on their respective routes. This will bring the capacity entitlements to 13,500 per week from the current 10,000 seats.Under the new pact, the Philippines will also be entitled to operate an unlimited number of seats outside Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, while China will have the same privilege outside Manila.The agreement was reached after a two-day air services consultations in China last Nov. 23 and 24 that aimed to strengthen aviation relations between the two countries.Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Glicerio Sicat from the Philippines and Civil Aviation Administration of China Director-General Li Jiangmin led their respective delegations.Sicat said the consultations were timely since China is fast becoming a major source of tourists for the Philippines.China is now ranked fourth among the main sources of our tourist arrivals. There is a need, therefore, to increase the seat entitlements of our airlines because of this growth,he said.

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