If the Israeli economy is entering a slowdown, there's little sign of it at the check-in counters at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
A month before the High Holiday traveling season begins, an informal survey by TheMarker of seats on outgoing flights to the United States, the Far East and Europe found almost none available. Flights are almost entirely full - especially on the eve of and the night following the holidays. The most someone trying to get a reservation can hope for is to be put on a waiting list.
"I don't see any recession, really nothing. Israelis are continuing to fly abroad," said Ruth Ben Tzur, the Israel manager for Air Canada.
"For instance, for the third weekend in August we already have almost no seats left on our flights to Toronto and beyond. About 90% of the seats are taken. During the holiday seasons, starting in September, we're seeing a 10% rise in demands compared to last year, mainly on holiday eves and the nights following."
"We are full to capacity from the middle of September until the end of October, mainly for travel groups going to the Far East," said Dvora Bruchstein, the Israel manager for Royal Jordanian Airlines.
If there are seats still available to Bangkok in tourist class, they are expensive, on the order of $1,200 or more.
At El Al Israel Airlines, the destinations most in demand are France, Italy, the United States and Thailand.
"On flights for holiday eves and the night after the holidays, there is huge demand. Only people who are flexible about their departure time can find tickets at attractive prices," said David Maimon, vice president for commercial and aviation ties.
For his part, Dudu Mahlev, the vice president for marketing at Arkia, said he was already seeing a high demand for the Sukkot holiday.
"It's already difficult to reserve places," he said. "But there are still places on flights and holiday packages for Rosh Hashanah and the day after Yom Kippur."
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