MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Turkish Airlines’ maiden direct Istanbul-Manila flight arrived at 6:40 pm Monday, March 30 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA 1).
Flight TK084 from Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the culmination of an expanded air services agreement between the Philippines and Turkey signed in November 2014.
The approximately 12-hour flight is scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, arriving in Manila at 6 pm and departing for Istanbul at 8:50 pm, utilizing Airbus A340s.
Businessmen, tourists, and transit passengers seeking a gateway to Europe are the target clients of the direct Istanbul-Manila flight. Turkey is accessible to 3 continents – Asia, Europe, and Africa, providing for seamless transfers.
The Philippines is the 109th country in Turkish Airlines’ network, with Manila as its 264th destination, and the 32nd point in its network in Asia and the Far East.
In a statement, Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Officer Temel Kotil said the airline is leveraging on global renewed interest in the Philippines, particularly its economic growth in years.
“We’re very excited to bring our renowned inflight services to Filipinos, and we hope that our new flights to Manila will boost trade between our two countries,” Kotil said.
A total of 3,731 tourists from Turkey visited the Philippines in 2013, data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed.
Philippine Tourism Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito Bengzon Jr said: “Finally, the long wait is over. The traveling public has been waiting for this.”
Bengzon added that with the direct flight, DOT is now eyeing to double tourist arrivals from Turkey.
The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism reported 3,581 tourists from the Philippines in 2014.