Terminal 1 reopens as Ryanair returns to Israel

Ryanair credit: Piote Mitelski, Ryanair
Ryanair credit: Piote Mitelski, Ryanair

Ben Gurion airport's low-cost Terminal 1 has resumed operations for the first time since the start of the war. But will airfares fall?

Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion airport reopened yesterday morning for international flights. A few hours later, Ryanair's first flight in Israel since February landed. The Irish low-cost carrier resumed flights to Israel at the start of February, but backtracked before the end of the month, announcing that it would halt all of its operations in Israel until October 2024.

The official reason published by the company was the higher airport taxes at Terminal 3 compared with Terminal 1, which had been closed since the outbreak of the war last October due to technical and economic constraints. With the announcement of the reopening of Terminal 1 in June, Ryanair filed a request to resume flights to Israel, on routes between Tel Aviv and Berlin, Paphos, Budapest, Bari, Milan, Malta and Athens.

According to the Israel Airports Authority, about 1,200 flights per month will depart from Terminal 1 carrying 200,000 passengers, with 6,500-7,000 passengers per day passing through Terminal 1 during the peak days of July and August. The airlines using Terminal 1 inmclude El Al, Arkia, Israir, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Transavia and Arizona. The expected rise in passenger traffic at Ben Gurion airport in the summer is expected to attract other foreign airlines to resume Israel flights.

The Israel Airports Authority said, "As was the case in the past, the return of all passengers from abroad will take place through Terminal 3. Passengers can use a shuttle service between the terminals and between the various parking lots, free of charge. Some companies will operate from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. We urge passengers to carefully check, ahead of time, from which terminal their flight departs, according to the airline and the flight number."

Are airfares set to fall?

After a long period of sharp increases in airfares, we may soon see a decrease. Yaniv Lanis, founder of the Secret Flights website is optimistic. He says, "The opening of Terminal 1 this week is the first step on the way to cutting fares on flights from Israel. The next steps depend on security stability and the return of the low-cost companies to fly on a full schedule, as they operated until before the war. The prices of the low-cost companies Wizz Air and Ryanair for the coming months are still relatively low, but they are still on average, double what we saw at this time last year. I believe that in the coming months, we will see more routes open up and the existing seat supply increase, which will lead to increased competition and lower fares."

Bishvil Hazahav Tourism managing director Siman Ovadia adds, "This signifies a gradual return to normalcy, but we will not see a change in fares immediately. I believe that this will increase over time, and it will help consumers and also tourism companies to get more reasonable fares for flights. I believe that there is potential for price cuts at Israeli companies as well, but very quickly it gets mixed in with the limited supply of flights, which is not sufficient. The fares won't stay cheap for long, as long as more companies don't keep coming back. And yet, it will slightly balance what we are experiencing today. Ryanair flies mainly to Europe so as far as distant destinations are concerned, we are still in trouble. It's a process that won't happen in one day."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 4, 2024.

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

Ryanair credit: Piote Mitelski, Ryanair
Ryanair credit: Piote Mitelski, Ryanair
Twitter Facebook Linkedin RSS Newsletters גלובס Israel Business Conference 2018