Virgin Atlantic to serve Tel Aviv from SeptemberBack to Forum
News announced by Virgin Atlantic very early this morning (Sunday).
As with British Airways it’s interesting to note that Virgin Atlantic will be using long-haul aircraft with long-haul onboard accommodation.
For political reasons Israel, from an aviation viewpoint, is classified as a European destination.
It means that most if not all European airlines (with the exception of BA and Virgin Atlantic) deploy short-haul aircraft to Tel Aviv.
But BA and Virgin Atlantic will be using long-haul aircraft.
Because in addition to the [London-Tel Aviv] point-to-point market they also want to tap the lucrative transit market for sixth-free travellers between North America and Israel and vice versa.10 Feb 2019
Because in addition to the [London-Tel Aviv] point-to-point market they also want to tap the lucrative transit market for sixth-free travellers between North America and Israel and vice versa.
Very good point. I’ve never flown the sector but it seems to be a very lightly contested market with only BA and El Al serving it currently. This will be great for Delta and Skyteam customers in the US transiting LON although I wonder what Air France / KLM / Alitalia will make of it who fly their less spacious A320s and 737s into Israel from their own continental hubs.
1 user thanked author for this post.10 Feb 2019
There is a few alternatives to BA and EL AL out of Heathrow . Low cost carriers operate on the route out of London. EasyJet and WizzAir are two such airlines. EL AL also operate out of Luton also.11 Feb 2019
There is a few alternatives to BA and EL AL out of Heathrow . Low cost carriers operate on the route out of London. EasyJet and WizzAir are two such airlines. EL AL also operate out of Luton also.
I had to write this piece to tight deadlines yesterday (Sunday) hence was unable to provide my usual analysis.
But Virgin Atlantic is aiming at a different market compared to EZY/Wizz.
London-Tel Aviv is a five hour flight. Would you want to be squeezed into a few frills narrow-body A320 with 29 ins of seat pitch ?11 Feb 2019
Apart from those individuals and their companies that have money to burn, it raises an interesting question, as to what length of flight is it truly worth paying 3 to 5 times extra for business class seats. My initial thought is for a minimum of 5 hours including an overnight flight. As Tel Aviv flying time is give or take 5 hours from UK, then I think most passengers may decide to pay Economy prices for point to point journeys. If there is an onward connection from/to USA, giving rise to total journeys of over 12 hours, then the decision is different. It will therefore be interesting to see how successful putting the long haul aircraft on this route will be.11 Feb 2019
If there is an onward connection from/to USA, giving rise to total journeys of over 12 hours, then the decision is different. It will therefore be interesting to see how successful putting the long haul aircraft on this route will be.
That’s an interesting point.
But in any case Virgin Atlantic has no short-haul/narrow-bodied aircraft in its fleet. So it would have to lease one from another carrier.
But as I noted in our piece, BA has been operating wide-body long-haul aircraft on the Tel Aviv route for many years already.
Surely Virgin Atlantic would not wish to compete with a less than attractive aircraft ?11 Feb 2019
TLV is a difficult route for a number of reasons.
It sits uncomfortably between LH and SH, as the preceding postings indicate.
Its market segmentation is interesting, as whilst it is on one hand a ‘price sensitive’ market, there is a significant amount of travel which is last minute/high yield, due to the requirement of the Jewish religion to bury their dead before sunset of the day following the decease.
EDITED11 Feb 2019
Excuse me all for the ‘double-post’ (I’ve already made this point on the BA A350 topic) but I wouldn’t put it past BA to launch their new A350 on the Tel Aviv route.
Not only would it steal publicity away from Virgin but, as far as connecting traffic is concerned, BA could tempt the US market with a newer plane and more up-to-date cabin product than VS’s A330.11 Feb 2019
the requirement of the Jewish religion to bury their dead before sunset of the day following the decease
The requirement is to bury the dead before sunset on the day of death, if possible. I don’t think the number of people electing to be taken to Israel from the UK to buried would cause fares to spike. Like most religions in the UK, the funeral market has a captive and lucrative audience with plenty of space available for final resting places as one chooses..
UK – Israel is a very price sensitive route though, hence the rise in the LOCO airlines plying this route. Where the VS offering is interesting is there are a growing number of weekly commuters to Israel, who have homes/family in one country and work in the another. Up until recently El Al had the virtual monopoly as BA were not that interested in offering decent commuter fairs. The LOCOS generally do not allow the ticket flexibility needed by the commuters.
Interesting to see the pricing and schedule times for VS…11 Feb 2019
The requirement is to bury the dead before sunset on the day of death, if possible.
I didn’t know that, but what I do know is that every time there’s been a death in any Jewish family I’ve known of, there’s been a mad rush to get relatives, often from the other side of the world, to the burial site. I worked for a travel company and remember a Jewish family from South Africa paying a small fortune to get to Israel in time for the burial of a relative. The cost of the tickets was way above their combined credit card limits and thy had to borrow money from relatives.
I wasn’t referring to getting the body to the burial, I don’t think those formalities would ever be completed in time as all sorts of permissions are required to transport a corpse on commercial flights.
The flights have not yet been put into the GDSs, they are not even on VS’s site.11 Feb 2019
The schedule is in the above article :
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
Night stop – that won’t help with profitability. Other carriers with earlier departures are turning round and are back to base on the same day.11 Feb 2019
Having the plane sat for almost 11 hours does seem a little strange. I wonder if they would then use the same aircrew who flew the plane out to fly it back the following morning?
The arrival time also means the inability to connect with any VS & DL morning / early lunchtime flights, though will give them plenty of time for their numerous pm flights to NYC.12 Feb 2019
I’ve edited and deleted some posts here.
The comment in question isn’t necessary for the discussion which is about these new flights, so let’s just carry on.
If there are any more posts about the profile of passengers on the route, I’ll delete them.12 Feb 2019
I think the timings are designed to connect with passengers transitting primarily to/from US hence the night stop. The logic is it cost of night stopping is outweighed by likely revenue from connecting passengers. The plane could go out and back same day – but then in 1 direction at least the connecting options in London would be very poor.
With regards to cabin product – yes they will able to compete with a longhaul product that BA/El Al and Swiss (not mentioned before in thread) offer on the route. Other carriers seem to use short haul planes to product offering is much poorer.
But TLV I’d happily fly on Easyjet. I’ve done 4 hours to Morocco – an extra hour really isn’t going to make any difference on a day flight for Economy travel. So for those who are cost conscious it works, especially if you can get the extra legroom seats.13 Feb 2019