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With increasing competition from low cost carriers, El Al will have to up its game. Israel’s flag carrier just brought in a new CEO, and it has so far not emitted any signals that it is up to the long-term challenge.
When announcing the launch of a London Gatwick-Tel Aviv service, to add to its London Luton and Manchester flights, easyJet summarised the appeal of operating to Israel: “The most striking finding [of our research] was the destination’s growing popularity with young travellers who viewed it as a relaxing, beach destination to visit. One of the reasons for launching new flights from London Gatwick is because Tel Aviv’s appeal as a popular leisure destination has been growing.”
Tel Aviv is within five and a half hours of anywhere in Europe, putting it firmly in the zone of the pan European LCCs…
Tel Aviv is within five and a half hours of anywhere in Europe, putting it firmly in the zone of the pan European LCCs. In 2013, LCC seats on international routes increased by 70% versus 2012.
As the EU-Israel open skies agreement gradually liberalises traffic rights further, and as European LCCs (and others) take more note of the attractions of the Israeli market, this LCC-led growth looks set to continue. Even Ryanair, notably reticent in pushing the sector length frontier that far, has asked for permission to fly to Israel and is reportedly considering both Tel Aviv and Ovda in the south.
All of this has to be good for Israel’s tourism and for the country’s connectivity generally. But it is bound to maintain pressure on El Al to plot a way to long term sustainability. So long as Israel pursued a relatively conservative policy, El Al remained relatively powerful in its home markets; that is changing now, but it is less obvious whether El Al is equally able to measure up to growing levels of competition.
LCC Airlines based in or flying to/from Israel
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This story originally appeared on CAPA – Centre for Aviation, a Skift content partner.
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