Philippines, Brazil inked initial air services agreement for Rio de Janeiro - Manila Direct Flight

(Top, left photo) Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis (right) and Mr. Bruno Silva Dalcolmo, Superintendent of the National Civil Aviation Agency initial the Air Services Agreement (ASA) for the Philippines and Brazil, respectively. (Top, right photo) DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla (right) and Mr. Dalcolmo sign the MOU between aeronautical authorities. (Photo below) Undersecretary Seguis shakes hands with Mr. Dalcolmo at the conclusion of the negotiations.

The Philippines and Brazil negotiated and initialed an Air Services Agreement on May 20 at the office of Brazil`s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The ASA would pave the way for the two countries' respective carriers to mount daily flights to and from each other's territory.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis headed the Philippine delegation, composed of officials from the DFA, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Philippine Embassy in Brasilia, which successfully negotiated the country's first ASA in South America with the objective of opening new destinations for Philippine carriers  and boosting Philippine tourism.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Bruno Silva Dalcolmo, Superintendent of International Relations of ANAC and head of the Brazilian delegation, said that Brazil considers the Philippines as the "perfect gateway to Asia."

In response, Undersecretary Seguis expressed optimism that the ASA will result to further increases in tourism figures and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. Brazilian tourists comprise the largest tourist arrival in the Philippines from South America and are considered among the biggest tourism spenders accounting for $22 billion spent internationally in 2012. On the other hand, the Philippines could serve as another gateway to the ASEAN market of at least 600 million people.

Pending ratification of the ASA,  the aeronautical authorities of both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) granting traffic rights and setting out other operational details for their  designated carriers.

The ASA is the 11th bilateral agreement between the Philippines and Brazil and a milestone in the two countries' 53 years of formal diplomatic relations.

Ms. Ma. Socorro R. Gonzaga, Philippine Airlines' (PAL's) Vice President for External Affairs, confirmed that with the signing of the MOU, PAL may fly to Brazil three times a week and up to seven flights a week., Official Gazette of the Philippines

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