Direct flights between the Philippines and the Republic of Maldives are now closer to reality, as the two nations have successfully negotiated an agreement on air services on Tuesday.

Air negotiation panels of the two countries met in Manila on April 16 and 17 to draft the agreement after preliminary proposals were discussed in letter exchanges throughout the past few months.

The accord allows an initial entitlement of 1,200 seats that can be flown by each party’s designated airlines per week between Manila and the Maldives. However, flights originating from or destined for points outside Manila will be unlimited, in line with the Philippines' pocket open skies policy which promotes other international gateways away from the capital.

The Philippine air panel was led by the Department of Foreign Affairs, with representatives from the Department of Transportation, Civil Aeronautics Board, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment as members. 

The Maldives delegation was composed of the chairman, the chief executive and senior officials of the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority.

A tropical nation off the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, the Maldives is composed of around 1,200 islands, atolls, and reefs, and is known for its paradise-like resorts that attract tourists worldwide.