The Philippines and Turkey have signed a new air service agreement that would pave the way for local airlines to fly to Istanbul and possibly Frankfurt, Germany and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the Philippines and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding on air services expanding the allowable number of flights per week between Manila and Istanbul, from the current three flights a week to seven.
The parties also agreed to allow 14 flights a week between Turkey and all other international airports in the Philippines, except Manila.
The agreement also gave Philippine carriers fifth freedom rights to Frankfurt or Tel Aviv.
Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to fly passengers to third countries provided they have outstanding air service agreement with the airline’s home country.
“This will allow a Philippine carrier to fly from Manila to Istanbul and onward to Frankfurt or via Tel Aviv,” Arcilla aid.
Turkish Airlines currently operates three flights per week between Istanbul and Manila.
“They plan to increase their operations from 3 to 7 flights per week in October 2015. Turkey is a major gateway to Europe, and Turkish Airlines has about 106 destinations in Europe,” Arcilla said.
The Philippines received 3,731 visitors from Turkey in 2013, a 19-percent year-on-year
increase, Tourism Department data showed. Philippine visitors to Turkey reached 3,581 in the same year.
The Philippines has signed several air service agreements to accommodate the increasing number of tourists from different continents.
Manila and Doha in May signed an ASA, increasing the maximum number of flights for each country from the current eight flights a week to 14.
The Philippine air panel also completed air talks with Singapore, Australia and Qatar.