Asia’s oldest flag carrier has stated it wants foreign governments to stop protectionist measures before implementing air liberalisation measures in 2008.

In a frank and honest presentation at the Congress yesterday, Jaime Bautista, president and COO of Philippine Airlines (PAL), says too many governments are espousing the policy of allowing a free market in aviation, but nearly all instigate protectionist measures.

 “Let me state very clearly, we are supportive of responsible and equitable liberalisation,” says Bautista. However, he adds there are too many unfair practices, and liberalisation must be accompanied with a level playing field and a fair access to markets.

“This is not the case at the moment: we want more access to Canada, access to Narita, more Japanese points and barriers to gateways to the USA removed,” he says.

Bautista says that he is asking the Philippine government to intervene on the flag carrier’s behalf for more than two years, but to no avail. “We’ve asked our government to get more entitlements in countries such as Canada that are known to follow a blue skies policy. However, even though our growth in Canada has been phenomenal with five flights between Vancouver and Manila, it seems that some governments espouse open skies only where it benefits their own flag carrier.”

But the problem exists even within Asia. “Even in our own South-east Asia arena, too many airlines receive government support or even subsidies in some cases. All we are asking is for the same privileges as our foreign competitors. At PAL we sink or swim on our own performance.”

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Source: Flight Daily News