PAL eyes resumption of flights to Israel

PAL eyes resumption of flights to Israel

MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is reviving plans to operate non-stop flights to Israel.

Resumption of the service is targeted to start by October.

PAL said it is working on plans to mount non-stop flights to and from Tel Aviv, the gateway to Jerusalem and Israel.

The airline said its president and COO, Gilbert Santa Maria, and Israel Ministry of Tourism director general Amir Halevi carried out exploratory talks on the possible Manila-Tel Aviv-Manila flights.

Israel is gradually reopening its borders to international tourism, starting with vaccinated tour groups from May 23, and to individual tourist travelers as early as July, following the country’s success in controlling the pandemic.

The flag carrier is hoping to serve growing demand for air linkages between the Philippines and the Holy Land for both tourists and overseas Filipino workers.

“The Philippines is a strong source of potential travelers to Israel, which welcomes Filipinos without requiring a visa,” PAL chief strategy and planning officer Dexter Lee said.

“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,” Lee said.

PAL was previously planning to launch flights to Israel in the first quarter of 2019.