By Putu Deny Wijaya
Philippine Airlines Returns to Tel Aviv After A 60-Year Absence
Philippine Airlines is returning to Tel Aviv after a six-decade hiatus, with the first trip scheduled to take off in April. The market between the Philippines and Israel is vast, with 72,800,000 passengers expected in 2019. It will be a mostly leisure-oriented route with a focus on out-of-country Filipinos, pilgrims, and tourists in both directions. It comes at a time when the airline is reorganizing to become more profitable.
After a 60-Year hiatus
Philippine Airlines will resume service to Tel Aviv, which it last served in the 1940s and 1950s. It will begin operating twice weekly on April 6, with reservations being available since the end of October.
According to ch-aviation.com, it will employ 295-seat A350-900s, of which Philippine Airlines currently owns three. They were delivered in June, September, and May of this year. They’re all the same with 30 business seats (totally lie-flat), 24 premium economy seats, and 241 economy seats
It’s the most recent expansion for Tel Aviv, which has just welcomed brand-new connections to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. It’s also another significant long-haul route from the Philippines, after Turkish Airlines’ recent launch of Cebu.
Why go from Manila to Tel Aviv?
According to booking statistics, over 72,000 round-trip passengers flew between the Philippines and Israel in 2019, with 90% of those traveling to and from Manila. That’s a lot of people, and the average one-way trip was about $502 – roughly double the price of Manila-Dubai.
Hong Kong received the most number of passengers, followed by Bangkok, Istanbul, and Amman. With so many flights to Dubai presently, things are likely to change dramatically in the future — even before the new non-stop is considered.
Filipino workers, pilgrimages to Israel, and tourism in both ways will be the emphasis of the new service. About 23,000 Israelis visited the Philippines in 2019, and the nation is visa-free for Filipinos. At least 30,000 Filipinos reside in Israel, making them one of the country’s most populous immigrant groups.
Philippine Airlines’ Middle East Operation
The Philippine flag carrier flies to five Middle Eastern locations, as stated below, as of the first week of July. With 26 departures, this area accounts for less than half of the carrier’s North American operations. Philippine Airlines largely serves abroad Filipinos, which is a key commonality between the two areas.
- Manila to Dubai: once-daily by the A330-300
- Manila to Riyadh: once-daily; A330-300
- Manila to Doha: five-weekly; A330-300
- Manila to Dammam: five-weekly; A330-300
- Manila to Tel Aviv: twice-weekly; A350-900