July 15, 2020

Carriers Look Beyond Covid to Serve Tourism to Israel

Jerusalem…Israel is already forfeiting the summer tourist season but is facing the real specter of losing yet another key tourist period, the Sukkot holiday. With a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Israel is not even contemplating opening its airspace to all airlines anytime soon. In the meantime, the all but shuttered El Al is entertaining a possible sale to the Israeli son of an American nursing home and ambulette tycoon. The troubled airline has faced a revolt by the Pilots Union, considerable layoffs and the looming possibility of the nationalization of the airline. The hotel industry. Which depends on the tourism industry, has struggled to stay afloat by contracting with the government for quarantined guests and is hoping for a domestic clientele, albeit at sharply reduced prices.

One note of optimism about the reopening of tourism to Israel came from United Airlines which has continued its Tel Aviv flights throughout. The airline announced that beginning in September it would add new nonstop service three days a week between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. "Throughout 2020, United has been the only carrier to maintain continuous daily service between the U.S. and Australia as well as the U.S. and Israel,” said Patrick Quayle, United's vice president of International Network and Alliances. “As we continue rebuilding our international network, we look forward to offering customers more opportunities to travel between the U.S. and Hong Kong, Sydney and Tel Aviv.” In addition to brand new service between Chicago and Tel Aviv, United is increasing its current Tel Aviv service from its New York/Newark hub in August from daily to 10 weekly flights, and will resume service between Washington, D.C. and Tel Aviv in October. On July 8th, United resumed its nonstop service between San Francisco and Tel Aviv three days a week. United operates more nonstop service between the United States and Israel than any other U.S. airline.