The European Union (EU) has partially lifted the ban on Philippine Airlines (PAL), which will allow the country’s flag carrier to restart operating direct flights to Europe within the year.
According to an Inquirer report, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux himself made the announcement together with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director William Hotchkiss III and PAL President Ramon Ang. “Today the EU has decided to lift the air ban for Philippine Airlines. The decision will be effective starting Friday, July 12, 2013,” Ledoux announced. The announcement was made after an on-site safety evaluation done in June this year.
PAL is looking at Paris, London, Rome and Amsterdam as their first EU destinations.
This is a giant step forward for Philippine tourism. This means that Filipinos can reach Europe easier, but more importantly, this also opens more doors for the European market to visit the Philippines. No European country made it to the top 10 countries that supplied the most tourists to PH in 2012. South Korea, United States and Japan occupied the top 3, but the United Kingdom and Germany — the two highest ranking European countries on this list — accounted for only 113,282 visitors (2.65%) and 67,023 (1.57%) respectively.
In comparison, within the same period ASEAN neighbor Thailand welcomed 870,000 from the UK, and 680,000 from Germany.
Previously, all carriers registered in the Philippines were blacklisted by the EU in 2010 for safety issues, which PAL has now successfully addressed. The ban, however, remains in effect for all the other airlines in the Philippines including Cebu Pacific Air, Southeast Asian Airlines, and Zest Airways.