Ryanair has announced that it will fly 19 routes from Israel in 2017, 15 of them new, opening up the country to the low-cost airline’s 200 airport network.
A total of seven new routes will operate from Ben Gurion airport for Tel Aviv, to Baden Baden, Gdansk, Krakow, Milan Bergamo, Poznan and Wroclaw, as well as daily flights to Paphos.
Another eight routes will fly from Eilat Ovda airport, to Berlin, Baden Baden, Brussels Charleroi, Frankfurt Hahn, Gdansk, Milan Bergamo, Poznan and Warsaw. Four existing routes to Bratislava, Budapest, Krakow and Kaunas also will continue from Eilat this year.
Flights will start at around £17 (20 Euros) one-way, while the new competition for existing airlines flying to Israel is expected to have an impact on air fares on other routes. Flights go on sale in early February, with early booking deals available until midnight on Thursday February 2.
Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said: “The tourism industry is currently going through a significant revolution and the entry of Ryanair to Israel is proof of the significant improvement in Israel's attractiveness as a tourism destination.
“The significant entry of Ryanair operations into Israel is good news that will make an immediate contribution both in terms of increasing incoming tourism and in reducing the cost of flights in and out of Israel.”
Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer David O’Brien said: “We appreciate the tireless work of Minister Yariv Levin and his officials to bring tourist flights to Israel and establish Eilat as a viable alternative to competing sunshine destinations in Europe.
“We should of course acknowledge the vision of Transport Minister Yisrael Katz who championed Israel’s entry to Open Skies in 2013 resulting in a 30 per cent increase in flights to Tel Aviv in the last 3 years.”