British Airways resumes Israel flights but fares remain high

British Airways resumes Israel flights but fares remain high

British Airways today resumed flights between London and Tel Aviv for the first time since the outbreak of the war, when it was among some 50 foreign carriers that canceled flights to and from Ben Gurion airport. British Airways joins a range of other airlines including Iberia, KLM, Air Canada, Air Seychelles, and Bulgaria Air, which will be renewing their Israel flights in April.

The resumption of flights by British Airways will increase the range of flights available to tourists on the high-demand Tel Aviv-London route but it won’t change the high fares prevailing in the market. In order for there to be genuine competition and lower the currently exorbitant flight fares, the return of British Airways is not sufficient.

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“Globes” found that British Airways is offering almost identical fares to rival carriers. A return ticket from Tel Aviv to London in mid-May costs $435 in economy class without baggage. The cheapest El Al return ticket to London over the same period without baggage is $463.

Narrow-bodied aircraft with a stopover in Larnaca

In addition to the high fares being charged by British Airways, the airline is resuming Israel flights in narrow-bodied aircraft, while before the war it was operating on the Israel route with wider-body planes and a greater choice of seats.

This is not the only British Airways change on the route. While the flight from Tel Aviv to London is direct, the London to Tel Aviv flight will stop in Larnaca, Cyprus to change crew due to concerns about having to sleep over in Israel. There will also be a change in the in-flight menu with lighter meals than in the past being served.

While international airlines delayed their return, Israeli airlines have enjoyed a surge in revenue. In the final quarter of 2023, El Al saw its market share of flights to and from Ben Gurion airport jump to more than 80%, compared with about 22% before the war. According to Israel Airports Authority data, about 73% of the international flights to and from Israel in January were operated by El Al. Now with the return of the international airlines to Israel, Israeli passengers are hoping for a drop in fares, but in practice the return of foreign airlines is still not enough.

The reopening of Ben Gurion airport’s Terminal 1 in June for low-cost carriers like easyJet and Wizz Air, and the lower fees charged than at Termial 3, may help cut fares in the summer.

Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on April 1, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

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