Irish low-cost airline Ryanair inaugurated its flights from Ben Gurion Airport yesterday with a flight to Paphos in Cyprus. A Ryanair jet landed at Ben Gurion, followed by the first takeoff an hour later.
Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost carrier, has a fleet of 350 planes, most of which are Boeing 737s with 190 seats each. The airline has 86 bases, and flies to 200 destinations in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Ryanair recently announced the introduction of 19 routes from Tel Aviv, some from Ben Gurion and some from Ovda Airport. Most of the routes, which will begin after the High Holy Days, will be to destinations in Italy, Germany, Poland, etc.
Ryanair began its business in Israel last year with five routes from Ovda, but avoided using Ben Gurion because of the high airport fees. The trigger for its new Ben Gurion routes was a €250,000 grant from Israel for each new route to which there were no direct flights from Israel.
As is usually the case with low-cost airlines, the price of a flight depends on the day on which it is scheduled. For example, during the intermediate days of the Passover holiday in April, a one-way flight on April 8 is likely to cost €110, while there is also a one-way flight for €54 (on April 12, for example).
As promised, there are one-way flights after the holiday for €20 (on April 17, for example). The price for return flights ranges from €250 from Paphos to Tel Aviv on April 15 and April 17 to €40-50 later, and even to €20 for a return flight on April 28, for example.
The cost of luggage, which is not included in the fare, can amount to €75 on a roundtrip flight for a suitcase of up to 20 kilograms. The addition includes a choice of seat and early check-in.
140 airlines currently operate flights from Israel, with 10 more slated to begin operations at Ben Gurion Airport in the coming months, including Air India; Canadian airline Air Transat, which will operate flights to Montreal; and WOW Air, an Icelandic airline that will operate flights to Reykjavik, from where it operates connection flights to various destinations in the US, for example. Other airlines that will begin operating in Israel include Cobalt Air, based in Larnaca, Cyprus; Eurowings, based in Cologne, Germany; Palma de Majorca-based Envelop; and Moscow-based Pegas Fly (formerly Ikar) and Yarmal Airlines.
As the competition for each destination intensifies, consumers will benefit. Israel Airports Authority figures show that no fewer than 11 airlines will compete for the routes to France: El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL), Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., Arkia Airlines Ltd., Neos, XL Airways France, Transavia, Air France, easyJet, Cobalt Air, Smartlynx Airlines Estonia, and AlbaStar. The same number of airlines will also compete for the routes to Italy and Spain.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 29, 2017
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