Ryanair eyes Middle East market with 15 new routes in Israel
Airline adds flights from Tel Aviv and Eilat, making it Israel’s most active foreign carrier
Amir Halevi, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and David O’Brien, Ryanair’s chief commercial officer, at the announcement of Ryanair’s Israel winter 2017 schedule. Photograph: Oded Karni
In a massive boost to Israel’s Open Skies policy, the airline is adding 15 new routes to its operations, from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel’s main international airport, and from Ovda airport, north of the popular Red Sea resort of Eilat.
The move adds to the airline’s existing routes from Israel to Bratislava, Budapest, Krakow and Kaunas, boosted by generous subsidies from Israel, and will make Ryanair the most active foreign carrier operating from the country.*
In 2012 Israel and the European Union signed an Open Skies agreement to facilitate low-cost flights to and from European countries. In the last three years flights to Tel Aviv have increased by more than 30 per cent.
Israel’s minister for tourism Yariv Levin said Ryanair’s expansion was good news that will make an immediate contribution both in terms of increasing incoming tourism and in reducing the cost of flights to and from Israel.
“The company is expressing great confidence in the Israeli tourism product. For the first time, Ryanair is expanding its operation into Tel Aviv and almost tripling its operation in Eilat. The tourism industry is currently going through a significant revolution and the entry of Ryanair to Israel is proof of the significant improvement in Israel’s attractiveness as a tourism destination,” he said.
Lower fuel costs
In Tel Aviv, Ryanair’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien said the airline was passing on lower fuel costs.
“We are pleased to launch our Israel winter 2017 schedule, which includes 19 routes including seven new Tel Aviv routes and eight new Eilat Ovda routes, which will go on sale in early February,” he said. “We appreciate the tireless work of minister Yariv Levin and his officials to bring tourist flights to Israel and establish Eilat as a viable alternative to competing sunshine destinations in Europe. ”
Ryanair will launch flights from Tel Aviv to Paphos, Cyprus from March 28th starting at €21.99 one-way, with flights to European destinations further afield from €40.
*This article was edited at 12.18pm on February 2nd, 2017