British Airways has confirmed that it resume flights from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv on April 1 after suspending flights to the Israeli city in October 2023 in the aftermath of Hamas’ deadly terror attack.
The airline is joining a growing number of European airlines that have already returned to Tel Aviv, including Lufthansa, Air France, Ryanair and Wizz Air.
British Airways will operate just four flights per week to Tel Aviv and has switched out the widebody aircraft that used to fly the route for a short-haul configured Airbus A321neo.
In a statement, a spokesperson for British Airways told us: “We’ve taken the commercial decision to move Tel Aviv to our short-haul network when we restart our flights on 1 April.”
“This aligns these flights with other similar length flights we operate, and we’ll keep this decision under review.”
The flight is expected to depart London Heathrow at 6:40 am and initially fly more than four hours to Larnaca in Cyprus, where the aircraft will make a 45-minute stopover before continuing onto Tel Aviv.
The total journey time has been blocked at 6 hours and 25 minutes, more than an hour longer than the non-stop routing British Airways used to operate.
Due to the security situation in Israel, the stopover will be used for a crew change so that British Airways doesn’t have to layover any crew in Tel Aviv. Instead, pilots and cabin crew will stay overnight in Cyprus and operate the final Tel Aviv leg as a ‘turnaround’.
The main advantage of using a single-aisle jet rather than a long-haul widebody aeroplane that passengers flying British Airways to Israel are accustomed to is that the aircraft can be quickly ‘turnaround’ in Tel Aviv and readied for its return to Larnca in 40 minutes or less.
That, of course, means that British Airways can quickly evacuate its aircraft, crew and passengers should the security situation suddenly deteriorate.
Following the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, British Airways initially continued to operate flights to Tel Aviv as other airlines quickly pulled service from the city.
Several days later, however, a British Airways Airbus A350-1000 on final approach to Tel Aviv suddenly turned around at the last minute and diverted back to Heathrow. The airline suspended all flights on the same day.
Flights are expected to operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with one-way fares starting from £406.
Despite the continuing security threat, the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) has advised airlines that it is safe to resume flights to Israel.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.