Philippine Airlines (PAL) is looking to offer nonstop flights between Manila and Tel Aviv by October 2021.
The Philippine flag carrier said it is in talks with Israel’s Tourism Ministry about launching the route to serve the growing demand for travel between the Philippines and the Holy Land for tourists and overseas Filipino workers.
PAL is eyeing twice-weekly nonstop flights between Manila and Tel Aviv using state-of-the-art Airbus A350 aircraft. This would represent a comeback for PAL, which operated regularly to Tel Aviv from the 1940s to the 1950s, the airline noted.
Israel is gradually reopening its borders to international tourism, starting with vaccinated tour groups from May 23. following the country’s success in controlling the pandemic. The current plan, which is subject to change, calls for Israel to open to individual travelers at the beginning of July.
Philippine passport holders are entitled to 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, PAL said.
“I am pleased to give this important first step to the tourism industry between Israel and the Philippines,” Israel Ministry of Tourism Director General Halevi said. “Direct flights between our two capitals will be a game-changer for tourism and business connectivity. This time Israel has a unique advantage as a safe and healthy country.”
“The Philippines is a strong source of potential travelers to Israel, which welcomes Filipinos without requiring a visa,” said PAL Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Dexter Lee. “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.”
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