17 November 2014
Turkey has signed its first ever amendment to the Air Services Agreement (ASA) with the Philippines with no less than its Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signing the instrument Monday morning.
The agreement grants Turkish Airlines (THY) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) access to both Ankara and Istanbul, and Manila and Clark three times a week from the previous once a week schedule entered at the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.
Turkish Airlines has been wanting to fly the route since 2011 but hit a brick wall when told that there desires need amendment to the existing Air Service Agreement between the two countries. It took them three years to have the agreement signed by no less than the Chief Executive of both countries.
"Turkish Airlines wants to fly everyday to Manila," says Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
But desires to fly daily was objected by local airlines outright prompting the Prime Minister to remark that there are solutions to the problem.
“I am sure there will be a win-win solution to develop this relations” says PM Davutoğlu.
The ASA has been subject to intense negotiation since 2010 when THY decided to expand its presence in Southeast Asia. The airline wanted daily flights to Manila and fifth freedom rights either to Hong Kong or Australia, but both were denied due to strong opposition by Philippine-based carriers.
A compromise was finally agreed where additional entitlements will be added as demand increases, while code share deals with PAL sealed.
Now, under code share arrangements with PAL, Turkish Airlines is expected to commence four times a week flight beginning summer of next year using Boeing 777-300ER planes from Istanbul to Manila which services will eventually increase to a total of six flights per week. Schedule is set to be announce soon.
“We have already started working to launch direct flights to Manila soon,” says Mr Salih Kece, General Manager of Turkish Airlines for Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Turkish Airlines opened Manila office in 2011 along SGV II Building, 6758 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila.
In 2011 there has been 35,000 passengers transiting between Turkey and the Philippines alone.