Some of the world's leading high-tech companies have reportedly signed a petition calling for direct flights between Tel Aviv and Dublin, the capital of Ireland, according to the website of the Irish Independent newspaper.
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"Direct flights would encourage more collaboration between tech companies to join forces and target customers in bigger economies, such as the U.S. and China," said Clyde Hutchinson, CEO of the Ireland-Israel Business Network, which is sponsoring the petition.
Linkedin, Facebook, Intel, eBay and Salesforce are among the companies that have signed the petition, Hutchinson said. The European headquarters of many of the world's tech giants are located in Dublin.
Currently, travellers from Tel Aviv must catch a five-hour flight to London followed by a separate connection to Dublin. A direct route would reduce travel time to just over five hours.
In addition, Dublin has United States pre-clearance facilities, meaning that travelers can pass through U.S. customs in Dublin, a boon for the travelling businessperson.
"Many multinationals have their Israeli desks based in Dublin, so not having a direct flight is a huge inconvenience," said Hutchinson. "Executives and workers of these companies are constantly moving back and forth for meetings and events."
Hutchinson estimated that a Dublin-Tel Aviv route would cater to some 40,000 annually, a number that would require additional connecting flights between Dublin and North America.
"Tel Aviv is the second largest startup ecosystem in the world, yet is not connected to the number one ecosystem, Silicon Valley, by a direct flight," said Hutchinson. "Ireland's unique connectivity with the US and the ability to clear US customs is a huge selling point for entrepreneurs."