PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) is working on plans to mount nonstop flights to and from Tel Aviv, the gateway to Jerusalem and Israel by October 2021.
The Philippine flag carrier hopes to serve growing demand for air linkages between the Philippines and the Holy Land to serve tourists and overseas Filipino workers alike.
PAL president and chief operating officer Gilbert Santa Maria and Israel Ministry of Tourism director general Amir Halevi have carried out exploratory talks on possible Manila-Tel Aviv-Manila flights.
Israel is gradually reopening its borders to international tourism, starting with vaccinated tour groups from May 23, and ultimately to individual tourist travelers by as early as July 2021, following the country’s success in controlling the pandemic.
PAL 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.”
“I am pleased to give this important first step to the tourism industry between Israel and the Philippines. Direct flights between our two capitals will be a game-changer for tourism and business connectivity. This time Israel has unique advantage as a safe and healthy country. We hope to welcome you soon in Israel,” said Halevi.
PAL is eyeing twice weekly nonstop flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, using state of the art Airbus A350 aircraft.
Philippine passport holders are entitled to a 90-day visa-free access to Israel. An estimated 28,000 Filipinos currently work in Israel, most of whom are based in the neighboring areas of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. (PR)