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Virgin Atlantic to Resume Flights to Tel Aviv From September 5 as Airline Announces New Partnership With Israeli Flag Carrier

Virgin Atlantic to Resume Flights to Tel Aviv From September 5 as Airline Announces New Partnership With Israeli Flag Carrier

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Virgin Atlantic is to resume direct flights between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv from 5th September 2024, after an 11-month hiatus prompted by last October’s Hamas terror attack and the ongoing war in Gaza that has left tens of thousands of people dead.

The airline’s decision to resume flights to Tel Aviv came on the same day that Virgin Atlantic announced that it had struck a new partnership with Israeli flag carrier El Al in the form of a codeshare agreement covering Tel Aviv, along with eleven US destinations operated by Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic is returning to Tel Aviv more than five months after rival British Airways resumed flights to Israel’s most populous city, although BA has been operating its flights not only on a short-haul configured Airbus A321 aircraft but also with a stopover in Larnaca, Cyprus.

The stopover in Larnaca is to allow for a crew changeover so that pilots and cabin crew don’t have to stay overnight in Israel, but it does add more than an hour to the flight time and is a costly diversion.

British Airways intends to ditch the stopover at the start of August, with crew once again staying overnight in Tel Aviv. The following month, Virgin Atlantic will follow British Airways with non-stop flights to Tel Aviv, but the airline will offer a far more comfortable long-haul configured Airbus A330 aircraft on this route.

Virgin Atlantic’s codeshare partnership with El Al will allow Virgin Atlantic passengers to travel on El Al flights between Tel Aviv and London, while El Al passengers will be able to travel on Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to 11 US destinations.

The partnership will also include reciprocal earn and redemption opportunities in each airline’s frequent flyer programmes, as well as reciprocal benefits for frequent flyers.

Later this month, United Airlines is also expected to resume direct non-stop flights from Newark to Tel Aviv. United became the first international airline to layover crew in Israel following the October 5 terror attack when it resumed flights to the country in April.

Just days later, the Iranian regime launched a massive coordinated drone and missile attack on Israel, targeting military sites across the country and forcing United to evacuate its crew out of the country.

United has been negotiating with staff unions since then to allow the airline to resume non-stop flights to Israel with pilots and flight attendants staying overnight in Tel Aviv.

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