Open skies key to boosting tourism

December 16, 2005 03:42
2 minute read.


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


As the tourism sector awaits an anticipated government decision to grant Israir permission to run scheduled flights to New York, industry officials are looking to a more liberal aviation policy to lead tourism growth in 2006. All five tourism professionals interviewed by The Jerusalem Post listed the government's aviation policy amongst the most important catalysts to bring more tourists to the country. "Our biggest problem is the lack of aircraft, that supply is not meeting demand," said Marc Feldman, CEO of Zion Tours. "We need more planes to fly here more often." The "open skies debate" came to the fore again this week as El Al intensified its petitions to prevent Israir from gaining its change in status. The charter airline, which is owned by Nochi Dankner, currently operates three weekly flights to New York on a seasonal basis and has applied to the government for daily flights to operate in competition to El Al and Continental Airlines on the non-stop route. The addition of Israir to the market, however, was not expected to impact ticket prices. "Israir is already in the market but needs scheduled flights to get into the reservation system, which would make it easier to sell but it's not a cheaper airline," said Feldman. "What will affect price is a significant increase in planes coming to Israel. We need to embrace more airlines." One industry player noted that ticket prices were more sensitive to fuel prices. Meanwhile, El Al said this week it would turn to the Supreme Court to overturn a decision in favor of Israir. Its objection stems from a pledge by the government, before the company was privatized, to delay allowing other local carriers scheduled flight rights until air traffic to Israel rises to 10.5 million passenger arrivals annually, or if El Al's market share falls to less than 30% of scheduled passenger traffic on a given route (not including charters). El Al claims that these figures have not yet been achieved. While the Transportation Ministry usually has the final say on such matters, the Israir case was given over to the Tourism Ministry due to a possible conflict of interest because Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit's wife works with other Dankner companies in her public relations agency. The move was seen by most as favorable for Israir given that Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson spent the greater part of this year preaching the merits of "opening the skies." The Transportation Ministry has adopted a more cautionary approach saying that it would consider each case on an individual basis. The policy has paid off for some and Air France said Thursday it has been approved to double the flights it operates between Paris and Tel Aviv to 14 beginning in March. Earlier this year the Supreme Court allowed Austrian Airlines to add two flights to its Tel Aviv schedule, overturning a government decision.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
April 30, 2015
Teva doubles down on Mylan, despite rejection