A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 takes off from Manchester Airport, Britain, January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble.
(photo credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS)
Virgin Atlantic has announced the launch of a new daily flight route between London’s Heathrow and Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airports, starting on September 25.
The five-hour flight – the company’s shortest from the UK – will operate on Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-300 aircraft and offer in excess of 180,000 seats per year across all classes between Tel Aviv and Heathrow, the world’s seventh busiest airport. Tickets will go on sale from February 25.
“Tel Aviv represents a fantastic opportunity for us – Israel’s economy is booming. And as one of the world’s leading tech hubs, we’re anticipating many business travelers and entrepreneurs flying between Tel Aviv and the UK,” said Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss.
“We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US-Tel Aviv market, using the strength of our transatlantic joint venture with Delta, to offer customers from Tel Aviv a wide range of US destinations connecting through London Heathrow, including New York and San Francisco.”
In addition to carrying customers, the new route will enable Sir Richard Branson’s airline to offer an expedited cargo service from Tel Aviv to the US for goods such as fresh produce and electronic products.
“The entry of one of the world’s leading airlines into Israel is another expression of confidence in the Israel tourism product,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin
“The new flights will be integrated with the marketing campaign in Europe, which highlights Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I am convinced that, with the entry of Virgin Atlantic into Israel, we will see continued growth in incoming tourism from the UK.”
Approximately 218,000 visitors arrived in Israel from the UK in 2018, a 10% increase over 2017, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. The new route will compete with existing El Al and British Airway flights from Heathrow to Ben-Gurion.
In 2018, Israel had a record-breaking year of incoming tourism, with entries exceeding 4.1 million visitors. The country also witnessed a record year of Israelis traveling abroad, with over four million Israelis traveling out of the country a total of some 8.5 million times.
Also announcing new routes in September is Israeli airline Arkia. The company announced on Monday that it would be launching flights from Tel Aviv to Goa and Cochin, with one-way fares starting at $250. Tickets will be on sale from March 24.
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