After months of speculation, low-cost airline easyJet announced plans earlier this week to fly to Israel, with the launch of six flights a week between Luton and Tel Aviv from November 2.
The Luton-based airline will be offering single fares from £71.98 and return fares from £102.98, including taxes. Flights will depart daily, except Friday. The tickets went on sale for the first time on the airline’s website on Wednesday.
Andy Harrison, easyJet’s chief executive, described the launch as “a major breakthrough”.
He said: “For the first time, the travelling public in the London area has the choice between a high-cost traditional airline and a low-cost alternative. We look forward to bringing our unique blend of low fares and friendly service to a whole new market.”
The move was welcomed by Pini Shani, director of overseas services at Israel’s Tourism Ministry in Jerusalem, who said: “We are very glad to see easyJet, one of the leading carriers in Europe, starting to serve Israel.
“We are always happy to see competition on the route, and the fact that it is a leading low-cost carrier will make Israel a more attractive product to British customers, and will help us expose the product to a new market.
“We welcome them and wish them success,” added Mr Shani.
The Tel Aviv route is one of 23 new easyJet services to be introduced in the coming 12 months and brings to 46 the number of direct weekly flights between London and Tel Aviv.
In May, UK business airline bmi added a second daily flight to Tel Aviv, while Israel’s national carrier, El Al, added a third daily flight — excluding Saturday — to operate between Luton and Ben-Gurion.
El Al’s two other daily flights operate from Heathrow, as do the two daily British Airways flights.
In another indicator of the success of the route, Jet2, the regionally based low-cost airline which launched a weekly flight between Manchester and Tel Aviv last May, is to add a second weekly flight at peak times, with additional flights over Christmas and Passover.
Jet2.com boss Philip Meeson said that its decision was based on increased customer demand: “The feedback that we have received from our Tel Aviv passengers is that they want even more choice at key times.
“We have therefore increased our frequency. If demand allows, we will look to increase the service on a permanent basis.”
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