Metro Manila · Direct flights to Europe

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Until quite recently there were no direct flights at all between the Philippines and Europe, due to airline bans, taxes, and economic reasons. Now the EU has finally lifted its 2010 airspace ban on all Philippine carriers. Philippine Airlines had already been removed from the blacklist in 2013, followed by Cebu Pacific in 2014. 

++ Update June 27, 2015 +++

As the Official Gazette reported on June 26, the lifting of the EU ban benefits Air Asia Inc., Air Asia Zest, Air Philippines Corp., Island Aviation Inc., Magnum Air (Skyjet Inc.), Southeast Asian Airlines (Tiger Airways) and Southeast Asian Airlines International Inc. How This follows the positive review given by an EU assessment team in April this year. Philippine Airlines is already flying between Manila and London every other day.

++ Update April 15, 2015 +++
The Philippines’ largest budget carrier Cebu pacific is eyeing Rome, Italy as its first European destination, according to the airline’s representatives.

In April of 2014, the ban imposed on carriers from the country was lifted allowing flights to Europe again. The announcement from the European Union came 24 hours after the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States restored the country’s Category 1 status.

While Cebu Pacific is looking into flying to Rome, the airline’s president Lance Gokongwei said that these flights will not be available in the near future.

Alex Reyes, Cebu Pacific’s Long-Haul Division’s GM, said that the carrier is requesting for seven unutilized flight entitlements to be reallocated to them.

Philippine Airlines, on the other hand, has flights going to London, UK and stated in their website that flights going to Amsterdam, Madrid, Frankfurt, Rome, and Paris will be available soon.

According to Farecompare.com, Philippine Airlines (PAL) has five nonstop flights coming from the Philippine capital going to Europe. 

++ Update April 11, 2014 +++

In 2010, all Philippine-based airlines had been banned by the EU for safety concerns. Philippine Airlines (PhilAir) was the first carrier to be allowed back in three years later. PhilAir offers flights to London since November 2013.  

The ban on Cebu Pacific was lifted on April 10, 2014. Almost one million Filipino overseas workers in Europe will be the main target group of the budget carrier. Cebu Pacific has not yet decided which airports it is going to fly to and it will still take approximately a year or so before the company will offer flights to Europe.

On the same day, the US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the Philippines to Category 1, removing the country from its air safety blacklist and paving the way for additional flights to the US.

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+++ Update November 7, 2013 +++

London calling! Good news for tourists, expats and overseas filipino workers: After 15 years, Philippine Airlines finally offers flights to Europe again, going directly to London in only 13 hours.

Ever since the EU ban for Philippine Airlines has been lifted earlier in 2013, the company was eager to go to Europe. Since November 4, it offers flights from NAIA airport to London-Heathrow on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Introductory fares are 20,000 pesos one way and 46,000 pesos for a roundtrip.

Next on PhilAir's wish list are Rome and Paris. The airline had not operated direct flights to Europe since the 1980s.

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+++ August 27, 2013 +++

Travelling from Manila to Europe or vice versa usually means changing planes in a Gulf state or in one of the Philippines' neighboring countries. Direct flights have always been rare. In early 2012, Air France-KLM was the last airline to cancel its direct flight from Amsterdam to Manila. There is still a KLM flight that connects both cities, but only with a stop in Taipei where all passengers have to leave the airplane for a while, so the convenience of a non-stop flight gets lost.

The cancellation of direct flights between Europe and the Philippines was partly due to declining passenger numbers. A more important reason, though, was the 3-percent common carriers tax which the Philippines exposed on foreign airlines, a measure especially harmful for long-distance airlines. This tax was abolished in March 2013 and the Philippine Travel Agencies Association is optimistic that major European airlines will soon resume direct flights to NAIA airport.