El Al direct to MEL back on the table

While Israel's national carrier El Al revealed its bold intention to launch direct flights between Melbourne and Tel Aviv not long before the pandemic hit, it now appears the plan is well and truly back on the table.

THE decision to explore the route again has been helped along by indications from the Saudi Government that it is willing to allow all commercial carriers access to its air space, a move which would significantly cut the travel time in the air if El Al were to go ahead with the idea of direct Aussie flights.

Even without the possibility of a reduced travel time, the Israeli carrier was entertaining the notion in 2019, plotting three trial ultra long-haul nonstops between Melbourne and Tel Aviv, taking roughly 18 hours to complete the journey.

This week, El Al CEO, Dina Ben-Tal Ganancia, confirmed the airline was in the planning stages of launching the direct Aussie service, spruiking the healthy demand that exists on both sides of the air journey for it to happen.

While final approvals from the Saudi Government still need to be granted, Ganancia said the carrier “is analysing the potential of the new route” and was looking forward to exploring “the exciting opportunities” of even more services, flagging possible direct flights to Ireland and Japan.

Qantas currently has a codeshare partnership with El Al, with the QF code on selected routes including flights from Bangkok and Johannesburg to Tel Aviv.

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