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While the low-cost British carrier Thomson Fly just began flights to Israel, earlier this week a new no-frills foreign carrier announced that it is set to enter the local market next month.
The French company New Axis Airways, based in Marseille, received the proper permits from aviation authorities to begin offering low-cost flights between Tel Aviv and Marseille.
Beginning next month, the company will fly once a week from Tel Aviv to Marseille and from Marseille to Tel Aviv. Prices begin at $99 for a one-way ticket. The route to Tel Aviv has been opened as a result of the recent update in the aviation agreement between Israel and France, the Civil Aviation Authority said. New Axis Airways will compete with El Al, as Israel's largest carrier also operates two flights a week to the same destination.
The charter airline will also operate domestic routes in France.
Thomson Fly, which is based out of Luton, a suburb located 50 km from London, operates international flights to wide selection of destinations. In Israel, the company is scheduled to operate six weekly charter flights from Tel Aviv to Luton and Manchester.
Separately, a recent report from the Civil Aviation Authority said that during the winter tourist season, which officially began on October 28, foreign airlines are expected to post growth of 10 percent in the number of regular flights to and from Israel.
According to Dani Morag, the chief economist at the CAA, some 275 weekly flights will depart from Ben-Gurion International Airport during the winter of 2007-2008, compared with 250 weekly flights during the winter of 2006-2007.
Growth of 5% is also expected in the number of flights El Al is scheduled to operate during this winter. The company will increase the number of flights it operates a week to 190, the CAA said.
The increase in the number of foreign airline companies that operate in Israel, coupled with the expansion in the number of regular flights, will lead to a more competitive market, said Morag.
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