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There is a serious shortage of seats on the Tel Aviv-London route for the Passover holiday period. The reason is too many small planes and a lack of reserve planes to increase flight frequency.

Frequent fliers say the shortage at El Al applies not only to regular coach tickets, but also to business class seats. It seems that El Al is concentrating on its routes to the U.S. at the expense of those flying to London, and is using its wide-body jets for the run to New York.

One frequent flyer said that he had spoken to the CEO of El AL, Haim Romano, after meeting him by chance recently on a flight from London.

El Al responded: "The company operates according to exacting planning and management, and changes according to the needs of supply and demand to all 41 of its direct destinations. Sometimes there is a situation of over-demand for a specific destination."

Irit Rosenblum adds: The number of foreign tourist stays in Eilat in February 2007 was down 37% from last year. However, Israeli tourism was down by only 2%, making the total loss of overnight hotel stays 12% lower for the month than in February 2006.

There were 487,000 overnight stays in Eilat for the month, out of a total of 1.12 million nights for all hotels in the entire country in February. Some 56% of all overnight stays by Israelis were in Eilat or the Dead Sea in February.

There was an hotel occupancy rate of 49% nationwide, down 8% from last year. Tourist stays were down throughout the entire country too.