El Al Launches Third Daily Flight to London

Competition over route to U.K. capital has intensified since introduction of bmi service.

Competition over the Tel Aviv-London route is reaching new heights: El Al on Sunday inaugurates its new morning flight to the English capital, while rival bmi is - also Sunday - upgrading the jets that ply its London route to the bigger A330 Airbus.

Bmi is also doubling its daily number of flights between the two cities.

El Al's new morning flight receives the code LY 213. The route will be flown six times a week, landing at Luton Airport, on top of the two daily flights to Heathrow.

But chief executive Haim Romano clarified that the six new flights a week come instead of the Friday flight to Stanstead Airport.

Members of the El Al customer club are being offered a special deal in honor of the launch: $199 plus frequent-flyer miles for a seat in coach class, and $499 plus miles for business class. The planes in question are Boeing 767s.

Romano suggested that the new route to Luton will be convenient for business travelers; it takes off at 7:30 A.M. Tel Aviv time.

He added that the new route's passengers will be fast-tracked at Luton. A traveler with only hand luggage can be out of the terminal within 10 minutes of disembarking, Romano said. A fast train can bring the traveler to central London within 25 minutes. The price of the train ride will be included in the El Al ticket, for business passengers.