Israir adds scheduled flights to New York

The greater competition may mean lower fares despite higher fuel prices.

Two-and-a-half years after promising with great fanfare to buy a plane and start flying to New York as a scheduled airline, Israir is fulfilling the promise and buying an Airbus 330 that will start to fly direct to the Big Apple from this April.

Israir will operate four direct flights weekly on the route, which is already crowded but which enjoys high demand. Israir will meet tough competition on the route from El Al (22 flights weekly) , Continental (14 flights weekly), and Delta (seven flights weekly). With the addition of Israir, Israelis will have a choice of 47 direct flights a week to New York, besides the long list of airlines that offer flights to this destination with a stopover.

Israir won the right to fly to New York after a prolonged battle, among other places in court, where it demanded that it should be granted the status of a designated carrier on the route, despite El Al's objections. However, even though it was granted designated carrier status more than two years ago, Israir failed to exploit the route's great potential. At first, the airline operated just three flights using a leased Boeing aircraft. Two months ago, these flights were discontinued completely, but now it has been decided to resume them with the new Airbus.

The Tel Aviv-New York route attracts high demand and is considered especially profitable. Continental Airlines managers have said more than once that this is one of the airline's most profitable routes, if not the most profitable. Now, with greater competition, the airlines will be compelled to cut fares, despite the steep rise in fuel prices.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on March 20, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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