Jordanians Hare for Share of Bangkok-bound Israelis

As El Al and Arkia fight over tourism to Eilat, Jordan's air carrier is haring for its slice of another kind of Israeli tourist - those heading to the Far East.

Starting June 1, Royal Jordanian will increase the number of seats on its flights from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Bangkok, with a connection in Amman. The route is currently covered by an Airbus A310, which has 190 seats; it will be replaced with an Airbus A330, which can carry 290.

Royal Jordanian seeks to compete with El Al's direct flight to Bangkok. In order to promote the route the airline will be offering reduced-price tickets, as well as bonuses such as stays in four-star hotels in Bangkok.

Royal Jordanian currently operates 14 weekly flights between Amman and Ben-Gurion that which offer connections to the Far East as well as to the United States.

Currently, a flight from Ben-Gurion to the United States via Royal Jordanian costs $863. According to the Israel Airports Authority, Royal Jordanian has flown a total of 15,000 passengers from Ben-Gurion to destinations in the Far East so far this year - 51% more than during the corresponding period in 2009.

So far, 32,500 people have flown to Thailand from Israel this year, 18% more than during the corresponding period in 2009.