Jan 2, 2019

The first week of the year is filled with lots of planning for many people. May it be for work or for leisure, Filipinos for sure are already blocking off their calendars with their travel plans for 2019.

And for a primarily Catholic country such as ours, many dream of going to the Holy Land on a spiritual journey to the birthplace of Jesus. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of Filipino tourists visiting Israel has doubled to 23,500 according to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. But most of these trips are carried out through the Hong Kong and Turkish flag carriers.

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) since 2013 has been eyeing to have non-stop direct flights from Manila, and this year, it might just become a reality.

According to the undersecretary for aviation at the Department of Transportation, Manuel Tamayo, they are in the midst of finalizing a deal with PAL on flights from Manila to Tel Aviv slanted to be launched this first quarter.

But in order to secure this flight path, Tamayo added that they would have to reach an agreement with Saudi Arabia on the use of its airspace to shorten travel time from the initial 12 and a half hours.

“It’s a seasonal market,” said Tamayo in an interview with Inquirer.net. He also said PAL is looking into assigning flights during the cooler months.

PAL president Jaime Bautista expressed their company’s interests on this flights as early as April 2013. Israel and the Philippines have also signed on a bilateral agreement on the same year allowing 21 weekly flights from any point in the Philippines and Israel.

However, this is not the first time PAL will carry Israel flights. They have been able to do so in the 1950s and 1960s according to Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla.


Header photo courtesy of Unsplash

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TAGS: Israel PAL travel