This is no way to serve the UK market

By Jan Shure, August 12, 2010

It seems inconceivable that El Al has introduced feeder flights for Eilat - presumably with the intention of making the resort more accessible for winter sun holidays - while making it almost impossible for its core market to get there quickly and conveniently.

The UK market used to be the number one for the Red Sea resort: 45,000 of us flocked there in 1997; just 5,000 of us went in 2003.

Some of the decline is attributable to wars, political factors and changing tastes, but most in the industry believe it's largely due to the difficulty of getting to Eilat for a winter sun holiday.

Last winter, Isrotel's direct flights made it easy. This year, with El Al having announced its new feeder flights, they stepped away.

They may yet regret their decision: the "best" option, according to an El Al spokesman, is an overnight flight arriving in Tel Aviv at 5.20. With no delays, anyone living in the London area will leave home around 6.30pm and arrive in their Eilat hotel at 10.15am, a total journey time of almost 16 hours. If you start in Manchester or Leeds, it's heading towards 24 hours.

There is one way to beat the idiocy: the early morning BA flight from Heathrow lands in time to pick up the El Al Eilat flight at 18.30.

That second leg costs £17 each way, and El Al loses the revenue from the London-TA leg, but if El Al can't see that they need to serve the UK market better, they deserve to lose the passengers savvy enough to make the switch.

Last updated: 2:26pm, November 8 2010