El Al is to triple the number of flights it runs to Luton Airport.
From March the airline, Israel’s national carrier, will be operating six weekly flights — up from just two a week — to Luton, north of London.
That number will rise by another five in June, meaning that by the summer 22 flights will operate from Tel Aviv into London and the surrounding area every week.
David Maimon, vice-president of commercial and aviation ties for El Al, said the move would make travel between London and Tel Aviv more accessible.
“London is an attractive year-round tourist destination as well as a business destination for thousands of Israeli business travellers every month,” he said.
El Al faces competition on its Luton route from budget airline easyJet, which launched a Tel Aviv flight in November 2009 and now operates 21 flights a week in and out of the airport.
An El Al spokesman would not comment on whether the new flights were being laid on in response to easyJet’s popularity with visitors to Israel, but said that the move would “enhance our presence in the UK market”.
“El Al’s ability to grow from Heathrow Airport is limited,” she said. “We cannot get any more slots and need to operate from a second airport in order to expand.”