NEW DELHI: With tourist volumes going up, Air India will increase the frequency of its Delhi-Tel Aviv flights from three to four per week from July 14, said an Israeli tourism ministry official today.
Air India will now fly a 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner every Saturday, in addition to those presently being operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, it said in a statement. At present, besides the Air India, Israeli carrier El Al operates flights between Mumbai and Tel Aviv.
The ministry said another Israeli airline ‘Arkia’ too has also showed interest to operate direct flights between Israel and India to cater to the significant rise in the air traffic volume between the two countries.
“We are pleased with the Air India’s move to increase weekly flight frequency in light of the significant rise in tourist arrivals from India. The outbound numbers to Israel have grown exponentially in the last few years and this introduction will help meet the growing demand from India.
“India is an important market for us and I am delighted to say that it has been one of the best performing markets in Asia with a 31 per cent growth last year over 2016 and 31 per cent between January and May 2018 over 2017.” Israel has also reduced its visa fees for Indian citizens to `1,100 from `1,700 to encourage Indian travellers visit Israel, he said.
With one way duration of 7 hours and 10 minutes, Air India is currently the fastest nonstop flight between India and Israel taking a straight route between the two countries, overflying Saudi Arabia.
The Delhi-Tel Aviv AI 139 flight made its maiden journey on March 22 this year and since then the occupancy rate has gone up from 60 per cent to over 80 to 83 per cent.