El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) charter flights unit Sun D'Or is to operate the first-ever direct flights between Israel and Japan. At present, only two flights have been scheduled in each direction in September from Ben Gurion Airport to Tokyo's Narita airport but the aim is for permanent direct flights.
Israel's Ambassador to Japan Yaffa Ben-Ari said, "This is the first step on the way to achieving our main aim - direct and scheduled flights"
The September Sun D'Or flights are being chartered by three Japanese travel agencies. The flights from Israel to Japan will take 11.5 hours and 12.5 hours between Japan and Israel. This is a saving of four hours on the current shortest routes between Israel and Japan, which require connection flights.
Ben-Ari added, "The flights will help put Israel on the Japanese tourist map and signal to that market that Israel is an attractive destination. At the same time, Israeli tourists can enjoy a shorter and more convenient route to Japan, which is one of the fastest growing tourism markets for Israeli tourists.
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy director general for Asia and the Pacific Gilad Cohen said, "We hope that this new step will also encourage Japanese businesspeople and contribute to strengthening economic and trade relations."
Tourism between Israel and Japan rose sharply last year. In 2018, 35,000 Israelis visited Japan compared with 15,000 five years ago, while 20,000 Japanese tourists visited Israel last year, 15% up from 2017.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 7, 2019
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