Initial talks between PAL’s management and the Israeli tourism minister have been promising so far.
Citing the growing demand for better air connections between the Philippines and Israel, Philippine Airlines (PAL) is now planning to launch nonstop Manila–Tel Aviv flights by October 2021. The upcoming route is intended to serve tourists and overseas Filipino workers alike.
In a statement, PAL’s Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Dexter Lee said, “The Philippines is a strong source of potential travelers to Israel, which welcomes Filipinos without requiring a visa. Our countrymen have been longing for a direct flight to the Holy Land for spiritual pilgrimages or for a Mediterranean getaway when the travel climate allows. We also look forward to inviting Israelis to visit the Philippines, so our direct flights will help us restart tourism here in our country.”
PAL is currently eyeing twice-weekly flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport operated with Airbus A350 aircraft. Philippine citizens are entitled to 90-day visa-free access to Israel, and an estimated 28,000 Filipinos currently work in the country. Most of these are based in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa.
Israel is gradually reopening its borders to international tourism, starting with vaccinated tour groups from May 23, before welcoming individual travelers from as early as July. Once the global travel climate improves and restrictions are eased, the planned PAL service will allow Israeli tourists to fly nonstop to Manila and connect to the flag carrier’s domestic route network. This also marks a comeback for PAL, as the carrier operated regular flights to Tel Aviv from the 1940s to the 1950s.
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