Leading low-cost operator Easyjet is in discussions with Israeli tourism authorities about the launch of flights to Tel Aviv later this year.
The JC can confirm that “at least two” senior members of the airline’s commercial team were in Jerusalem last week for discussions with Israeli Tourism Ministry officials about the opening of a route between London -Luton and Ben-Gurion, probably in September.
A spokesman for the Luton-based airline declined to confirm “at this stage” that the Jerusalem visit had taken place, but said the airline was “in discussion with a number of countries” about the launch of new routes. He declined to confirm that Israel was among them.
As the JC reported last month, Thomsonfly is withdrawing from both the Luton-Tel Aviv and Manchester-Tel Aviv routes after Pesach. Manchester-Tel Aviv flights are to be operated by regional-based airline Jet2 from May.
Simon Harley, airline development manager at Luton Airport, was unable to confirm whether Easyjet would be launching a route to Tel Aviv, but said: “We are talking to a number of operators about filling the slot. Tel Aviv is a fantastic route which we would like to fill as soon as possible, following the withdrawal by Thomson.”
Meanwhile, El Al has petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to prevent the Ministry of Transport and the Israel Aviation Authority approving extra daily flights for UK airline bmi from Heathrow to Tel Aviv before El Al is allowed extra slots at Heathrow.
A representative of the airline in the UK said: “While we welcome the extra services from bmi, as that is always good for Israel, competition should be fair. El Al cannot get any extra flights or change our timings in and out of Heathrow. We think that the task of the Israeli authorities is to maintain a balanced policy with equal opportunities.”