Budapest is not a traditionally popular destination among Israelis, but that may change with the absurdly low price of air travel to the Hungarian capital from Ovda airport near Eilat.
The inexpensive tickets are priced near €10 -- around NIS 42 -- for a one-way flight and €15 per suitcase. They are offered by low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair, which began flying from Ovda to Budapest, Krakow, and Kaunas (the second largest city in Lithuania) several days ago.
Unfortunately, return tickets are proving problematic. A search conducted Monday morning discovered difficulties in booking a flight back to Israel.
The low fares are partly possible due to the Israeli's Ministry of Tourism's subsidies and incentives to foreign tourists who come to vacation in Eilat, leaving the flights back to Europe empty. The prices have been drastically cut to fill those seats.
Rynair CCO David O'Brien said he expected the carrier to ferry 40,000 tourists to Ovda during the winter.
The Irish airline receives €45 for each tourist it flies to Israel; and, the passenger receives a gift basket that includes hand cream by Ahava and chocolate.
While not as easy as catching a flight from Ben Gurion Airport, whoever is willing to undertake the trek to Ovda may save hundreds of dollars.
For example, a flight from Ovda to Budapest on December 23, returning a week later on New Year's Eve, costs €80 with Ryanair, including luggage. A comparable flight from Ben Gurion with up, El Al's low-cost brand, costs $170 -- a difference of NIS 329.
Ovda is set to receive new guests besides Ryanair, like UK low cost carrier Monarch and Turkish airline Pegasus. In total, Ovda will serve 22 weekly flights to different destinations in Europe, including Istanbul, Copenhagen, and London.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 9, 2015
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