Barely three years old and notwithstanding the terrorist attack in Ataturk airport in June 2016, Turkish Airlines’ Manila-Istanbul route is enjoying brisk demand on the wings of competitive pricing and extensive European network for both Filipino longhaul travellers and overseas workers (OFWs).
Its A340 aircraft was recently replaced by a brand new B777 (with 370 economy and 49 business class seats) and the route has become a daily service since September last year, up from thrice weekly when launched in March 2015.
With rates having dipped in light of security concerns surrounding Turkey and with the NTO more aggressively marketing in the Philippines, travel agencies said they have started offering luxury coach tours to Turkey and that Middle Eastern carriers are losing passengers to Turkish Airlines.
Vilma De Claro Mendoza, Mart Evers Travel president, said competitive pricing is bringing luxury groups to Turkey, enticed by a variety of shopping experiences, natural attractions, history and biblical sites.
Mike Hain, groups manager, Corporate International Travel and Tours, said the company is developing luxury programmes to Turkey for next year, explaining that “global terrorist threats is not an issue” to Filipinos. “They travel when they want to and where they want to,” said Hain.
Shroff International Travel Care managing director Arjun Shroff further pointed out that Turkish Airlines is getting more popular among OFWs, tourists combining Turkey with the Holy Land, and those on multi-European country tours.
The airline is gaining in popularity not only for Turkey-bound Filipinos, but also for those looking at other longhaul destinations, said Matt Poonin, general manager of Travelite Travel in Manila.