PH-Turkiye air pact doubles Manila, Istanbul flights

PH, Turkiye air pact to double passenger flights
Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Roberto Lim and Turkish Civil Aviation acting Director General Kemal Yüksek sign memorandum of agreement that boosts flights between the Philippines and Turkiye. Photo from Department of Transportation.
  • The Philippines and Turkiye signed an MOU enhancing bilateral air services, leading to the doubling of passenger air service entitlements for both countries
  • The MOU means the number of flights on the Manila-Istanbul route will increase to 14 per week from seven previously
  • Flights on the Istanbul-Manila route will also double
  • The MOU likewise aims to improve the air services agreement’s all-cargo regime by removing route limitation and increasing entitlements

The Philippines and Turkiye have signed an air pact that will double passenger flights between the two countries.

A memorandum of understanding inked by Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Roberto Lim and Turkish Civil Aviation acting Director General Kemal Yüksek boosts flights on the Manila-Istanbul and Istanbul-Manila routes from seven flights a week to 14. These flights may be operated by the designated carriers of both contracting parties.

The MOU signing followed air consultations between the Philippine and Turkish air panels on March 28-29 in Istanbul.

In a statement, Lim said the Philippines’ and Türkiye’s aviation services will both benefit from continuing to develop connectivity.

In line with the government’s policy to develop the country’s other gateways, the Philippine air panel persuaded the Turkish side to operate half or seven of the total Turkish entitlements to Manila on a co-terminal basis with Cebu, which means the flights can stop over in Cebu.

Starting with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2023 summer season, Turkish Airlines (TK) will be allowed to fly 12 times a week from Manila to Istanbul, with five of those flights stopping over in Cebu as a co-terminal on the journey back to Istanbul. This will increase to 14 weekly flights in the summer of 2024, seven flights of which TK should co-terminalize.

The IATA summer season begins on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Saturday of October.

Philippine Airlines, the country’s designated carrier, will continue to codeshare with TK on the latter’s Istanbul-Manila flights, meaning a PAL passenger can fly on a TK aircraft using his PAL ticket.

To help stir growth of direct traffic, both sides agreed to allow third-country codesharing, in which Philippine and Turkish carriers can put their airline code and sell flights on third-country carriers that have the right to operate and carry traffic on international routes that include Philippine and Turkish territories.

The MOU likewise looks to tap into Turkiye’s potential as a trading partner, improving the air services agreement’s all-cargo regime by removing the route limitation and increasing the entitlements. From three flights weekly between Manila and Istanbul, the flights have been increased to seven between all points in Turkiye and all points in the Philippines.

Finally, a proposal to update the air services agreement’s carrier designation provision to align with the Philippines’ amendment of the Public Service Act (PSA) was also received by the Turkish air panel, which committed to advise the Philippine side after a review.

Republic Act No. 11659, which amended the PSA, relaxes foreign ownership restrictions in certain industries, including air carriers.

The Philippines and Turkiye first executed an air services agreement in 2010.