KOCHI: Arkia Israeli Airlines launched direct flight operations between Kochi and Tel Aviv on Saturday. The airlines’ IZ 633 aircraft carrying 152 passengers and 20 crew members touched down at the Cochin International Airport at 10 am on Saturday. The CIAL Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) team received the first aircraft with water garland. Later, CIAL officials led by General Manager (Operations) C Dinesh Kumar welcomed the crew.
Arkia will operate A 321 single-aisle aircraft two days a week on the Kochi-Tel Aviv route. The aircraft will takeoff from Tel Aviv at 8:45 pm on Mondays and Fridays and will arrive at Kochi at 7:50 am on Tuesdays and Saturdays. It will depart from Kochi at 9.45 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. New direct flight takes only six hours to reach Tel Aviv. This will help thousands of pilgrims save 20 hours of travel to reach Israel.
The increased connectivity comes in view of Israel recording a 21 per cent growth in arrival of tourists from India. The country had received 70,800 Indian tourists in 2018 while 58,700 travellers from India had visited the country in 2017. India is now one of the biggest source markets for Israel.