Open Skies Pact Boosts Number of Flights to and From Israel

El Al has boosted the number of its flights by 15%, while Israir will be operating 30% more flights than the comparable period last year.

Nir Keidar

A new flight schedule goes into effect Sunday at Ben-Gurion International Airport and, thanks at least in part to the so-called Open Skies aviation liberalization pact that was signed last year between Israel and the European Union, the number of flights and destinations are about 15% greater than the comparable schedule last year.

For example, El Al – the largest carrier at the airport – has boosted the number of its flights by 15%. And when it comes to the two smaller Israeli carriers offering international service, Israir will actually be operating 30% more flights compared to the spring-to-fall season last year, while Arkia will be offering 20% more flights.

The new service includes additional daily El Al flights to London and Paris, bringing the frequency of the airlines’ service to the British capital to as many as five flights a day, while the Paris service is up to four a day.

Israir will be inaugurating a new service to the German city of Stuttgart, as well as to Madrid, Munich and Budapest, while Arkia will be offering new services, including Tbilisi, the capital of the republic of Georgia; Yerevan, Armenia; Odessa, Ukraine; Lleida, Spain (in the Catalonia region); and the Greek island of Mykonos.

Foreign carriers that are boosting their service include Brussels Airlines, which will be offering 11 weekly flights to and from the Belgian capital, with connections to other destinations, including Western Europe, North America and Africa.

Ben-Gurion Airport’s spring-to-summer schedule runs through October 25.