Foreign airlines rush to renew Israel flights, but will they?

British Airways aircraft / Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock.com

British Airways has already put back its Tel Aviv relaunch, as tough Health Ministry restrictions and fear of cancelled bookings dampen demand.

One after the other, foreign airlines have been announcing the resumption of flights to Tel Aviv from next month. Wizz Air, British Airways, Delta and Air Canada flights can be booked online for next month but will the flights ever take off? Air India is considering starting Tel Aviv - Delhi flights in June, Alitalia is hoping to start Tel Aviv - Rome flights also in June, and Air Baltic is mulling renewing Tel Aviv - Riga flights.

British Airways has already got cold feet and postponed the restart of London - Tel Aviv flights by two weeks from May 2 to May 16.

Delta plans to restart flights between Tel Aviv and New York on May 8, but seems to be keeping its options open when it states, "Delta continues to evaluate its schedule and is adjusting as needed based on customer demand, government travel directives and CDC guidelines."

The question is whether there is enough demand to make the flights viable and the carriers could be making these announcements to reserve flight slots and be ahead of the game when flights restart. Moreover, consumers will be wary because it has become clear from recent experience that passengers booking and paying for flights that are then cancelled, won't be getting their money refunded so quickly.

The main issue dampening demand is that Israel is still barring entry to all non-Israelis while Israelis returning from abroad are required to enter 14 days self-isolation. In response to an enquiry from "Globes" on the matter the Ministry of Health said that no change is expected in the near future. The Ministry of Health said, "At the moment there is no change in the entrance policy to Israel. The issue will be addressed in the future in the event that the fall in morbidity continues."

For the time being, Israel's three carriers - El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL), Arkia Airlines Ltd. and Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. have announced no plans to restart scheduled flights.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 26, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

British Airways aircraft / Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock.com
British Airways aircraft / Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock.com
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