(photo credit: ISRAEL AIRPORTS AUTHORITY)
SAS, the largest Scandinavian airline, is reintroducing a direct flight between Stockholm and Eilat, set to begin at the end of the year.
The Tourism Ministry lauded the announcement on Thursday as a success story following a series of negotiations with the airline. In an effort to convince SAS to restart the route, which it shut in March 2016, Israel will pay a subsidy to the airline of €60 (NIS 235) per passenger – €45 from the Tourism Ministry and €15 from the Eilat Hotels Association.
“We have set ourselves the goal of bringing new direct routes to Israel and we are indeed witnessing an exceptional momentum of airlines flying into Israel and bringing with them record numbers of tourists,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “We warmly welcome the Swedish tourists who will once again return to Eilat, thanks to the new route, and will enjoy an attractive tourism destination, especially in the winter season.”
The flights are scheduled to operate weekly from Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport from October 28 through March 24, according to the airline.
A spokeswoman for the Tourism Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that the subsidy program exists for all airlines that announce new routes to the resort city.
“It’s been very effective in increasing the routes that fly into Eilat,” said Lydia Weitzman.
While the subsidies were initially only for Eilat-bound flights, the ministry expanded them to include incentives for some flights to Tel Aviv, “when it proved to be so successful in encouraging airlines to open up new routes into Israel,” said Weitzman. Those subsidized routes include flights from lowcost airlines RyanAir and Wizz Air.