PAL to Fly Turkey and Kuwait This Summer

Code-shares with Turkish Airlines?

December 10, 2012

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has announced its intention to mount flights to Kuwait City in April and Istanbul by August of next year, data from Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) discloses.

In its application, PAL said it would be offering daily direct flights from Manila to Kuwait City. It will use Boeing 747, 777, Airbus A340 and A330 for the applied route.

The airline also filed an application to service Europe's backdoor to Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in Turkey thrice a week. Turkey is in Europe but is not part of the European Union which blacklisted the country from flying into its airspace.

“In addition to our planned operations to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, we intend to serve the Emirate of Kuwait on a daily non-stop basis during the summer 2013 schedule,” Vice-President for External Relations Ma. Socorro G. Gonzaga said.

PAL's application did not state whether the flight to Istanbul is going to be code-shared with Turkish Airlines (THY) which also announce commencement of thrice a week service to Manila on the same month coinciding with PAL flight to Turkey. THY applied for the route Istanbul Manila via Hongkong in 2011.

Gonzaga said that PAL’s flight to Turkey is in line with its “ambitious fleet expansion program.” saying that flights to that country would reconnect the flag carrier to the European continent.

Earlier, Turkish application to code-share flight with PAL using THY Boeing 777-300 ER planes between Manila and Hongkong was denied by CAB. 

In the latest Air Services Agreement with Turkey signed in February 2010, the Philippines is entitled to use three weekly flights between “points in the Philippines” and either “Istanbul, Ankara, and another point in Turkey to be specified later.

PAL vice president for marketing Felix Cruz confirmed  in an interview with reporters in Toronto Monday that the airline is actively seeking exemption from the European Commission of the ban on Philippine carriers from flying European airspace so that it can start flights to Frankfurt, Paris and London, all in the European Union.

"The airlines can work out an exemption unlike in the US where the ban is imposed on the country and not the airlines,” says Cruz.

Cruz said the airline is using its ISO certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and to the fact that the airline is maintained by Luftansa Technik AG of Germany, an EU accredited MRO provider.

PAL is hoping that the ban and the Category 2 status would finally be lifted by the EU and US FAA after ICAO conducts its audit this coming February. 

“This coming February, there is an audit to be conducted by the US FAA. So we will know by February and once lifted will open the possibility to really maximize the utilization of our aircraft and our entitlements,” Cruz said.

“If not, then we have to work on the EU exemptions and the workaround on our category rating in the US to fly our planes” Cruz adds.

PAL recently ordered 65 Airbus planes in August from European plane maker Airbus S.A.S in a deal worth $9.5 billion. It also has existing orders for two more Boeing 777-300ER scheduled for delivery in April and November 2013, while the first 10 Airbus planes, four of them A330 models is scheduled for delivery in 2013.

“Hopefully if we get the Category 1from the US, it will trigger actually if we get exemptions from Europe. It will trigger either or, whichever come first,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cruz said consumer response to the airline’s non-stop Manila-Toronto flight has been “very overwhelming.”

“The thrice-a-week schedule of the Manila-Toronto flight has been fully booked since we launched the service using our brand new Boeing 777-300 ER ,” Mr. Cruz said.

“Because of this, we thought of adding more flights to cater to the growing clientele,” he said adding that its fourth added flight is almost fully booked that they decided to introduce daily flight by March next year. 

Cruz also confirmed that they are deferring flights to Darwin scheduled this month due to internal and regulatory problems. Instead, they hope to launch the flight by first quarter of next year after regulatory approvals.

PAL was the first Southeast Asian airline to fly to Europe, with a maiden flight in May 1947 to Frankfurt Germany.


  1. Right PAL planes are maintained by the world's leading aircraft maintenance provider Lufthansa Technik(LHT) and its Philippine subsidiary Lufthansa Technik Philippines(LTP)

  2. Why CAB denied the Application of Turkish Airlines to fly to manila?? how shameful! If CAB accepts the application of Turkish Airlines to fly to manila, then another new international airline is flying now in manila!

  3. It was not denied by CAB. the application was opposed by airlines particularly Cathay Pacific because it doesn't have the right to transport passenger from Hong Kong to Manila and vice versa which Turkish Airlines wanted. There would be no problems had they decided to fly direct.

  4. Ethiopian Airlines begins flying to Manila starting June,18,2013!