Airlines doubt potential of mounting PHL-Israel direct flights

September 20, 2015 11:11 am 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Sept 19 (PNA) — The possibility of mounting direct flight between Philippines and Israel is least likely to happen anytime soon, tourism officials said.

Department of Tourism (DOT) chief promotions officer Francisco Lardizabal told reporters on the sidelines of a recent tourism conference that airlines from both countries were still doubting the route’s potential.

“It is not yet clear,” Lardizabal said when asked if both Philippine and Israeli governments were pushing for direct flights.

He further said that the agency was still looking for airlines “to provide planes.”

Israel Tourism Representative in India Hassan Madah, who was in the country to attend a conference, said in a separate interview that both governments have already met with Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific.

He said that while PAL has expressed interest in the market potential, he said that the airline company would be needing larger aircrafts to accommodate long-haul flights between Philippines and Israel.

PAL (has) the will but they have to see where it goes. It’s a long haul-destination and they need wide-body aircraft, they have limited aircraft that can accommodate these trips,” Madah said.

“They are trying to see how we can work it out. It’s an ongoing effort,” he added.

Madah, meanwhile, said that Cebu Pacific, unlike PAL, has shut down the proposal for the meantime.

Cebu Pacific said that it is not seeing any potential in the near future. Maybe if there’s a business opportunity they will explore this,” the tourism official said.

“(While) we don’t have visa issues. (The) biggest obstacle is the flights,” he further said.

At present, there are no direct flights linking Philippines and Israel except for chartered flights.(PNA)

RMA/ANP

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