WOW plans to operate four weekly flights from Tel Aviv to Reykjavik beginning on June 9.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
North American immigrants to Israel looking to visit home more often will soon be able to do so without breaking the bank.
The government approved an aviation agreement between Israel and Iceland on Sunday, which will enable the latter’s low-cost carrier WOW Air to operate flights from Tel Aviv to North America, via Reykjavik, for around $500 round-trip. WOW plans to operate four weekly flights from Tel Aviv to the Icelandic capital beginning on June 9, according to the Transportation Ministry.
“The aviation agreement signed between Israel and Iceland and the approval granted to the WOW company to operate flights to destinations in the US and North American is being executed through the Open Skies revolution – the biggest consumer revolution, enabling the Israeli consumer to buy tickets to new destinations at especially low prices for the first time,” said Transportation Minister Israel Katz.
While dozens of destinations in various countries have approached WOW to begin operating flights to their airports, the company selected Israel as its next locale – a choice that ministry officials described as a vote of confidence in the Israeli aviation industry and Katz’s Open Skies policy.
Israel first signed the Open Skies agreement with the European Union in March 2012, enabling European airlines to operate direct flights to Israel from anywhere in the EU – with a goal of fully opening the market, with no restrictions on the number of weekly flights, by summer 2017. As part of the policy, Israeli carriers are also able to fly to airports throughout the EU.
“The Open Skies agreement is the largest consumer revolution in Israel in the last five years,” Katz said.
On the forthcoming WOW Air route from Israel to the US and Canada, via Iceland, tickets are expected to range from $260-280 in each direction, the Transportation said, citing WOW executives.
Like most low-cost airlines, WOW Air charges passengers for each direction of their travels separately, rather than offering round-trip purchases. The airline offers WOW Basic (flight cost only), WOW Plus (flight, personal item, checked bag, carry-on bag and cancellation protection) and WOW Biz, which includes all the amenities of WOW Plus as well as extra legroom and meals.
The lowest prices for flights from Reykjavik to Newark and vice versa are listed as $149.99 in each direction, according to a flight search on the airline’s website. Among WOW’s other destinations in North America from Reykjavik are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
While the new Tel Aviv-Reykjavik flight route is not yet mentioned on the WOW’s website, the company has been encouraging American passengers en route to Europe to stop in Iceland on their way to the larger continent, in a campaign called “Break the Ice,” hashtagged #wowstopover.
“WOW air’s stopover option gives you the chance to break up long-haul journeys across the Atlantic,” the campaign says. “The WOW Stopover is available to book on return flights between North America and Europe via Iceland in either direction.”
It is not yet clear whether Tel Aviv will be part of the stopover program.