Today Virgin Atlantic announced it will be operating to Tel Aviv from September 25.
Tickets for the daily flight from London Heathrow operated by a long-haul A330-300 go on sale from February 25.
Virgin Atlantic’s A330-300 will accommodate 31 seats in Upper Class, 48 seats in premium economy and 185 seats in regular economy class.
The schedule from September 25 is:
London Heathrow-Tel Aviv VS453 1330-2035
Tel Aviv-London Heathrow VS454 0715-1110
Timings from October 27 will involve a later departure from London Heathrow and a slightly earlier return from Tel Aviv.
Virgin Atlantic says it will have the capacity to carry 180,000 travellers a year on the route.
It stresses that not only does it want to tap the point-to-point market but it also wants travellers to and from Tel Aviv to transit London for its (and Delta’s) North American network.
Says Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss, “Tel Aviv represents a fantastic opportunity for us. Israel’s economy is booming and we anticipate that many UK business travellers will be using this new service.”
“And with Delta [which has a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic] we can offer our customers to and from Tel Aviv a wide range of US destinations including New York and San Francisco.”
In truth Virgin Atlantic and Delta are following in the footsteps of British Airways.
For as long as I can remember BA has scheduled its London-Tel Aviv flights to connect with its extensive North American network.
For both its twice daily flights BA deploys long-haul B777/B787 aircraft configured for three classes: Club World, premium economy and economy class.
The other carrier operating London Heathrow to Tel Aviv is Israel’s El Al.
Read Jenni Reid’s recent interview with El Al’s CEO: