Virgin Atlantic will be launching flights between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv, Israel, with the first flight taking place on September 25th.
Flying daily between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport, the five-hour flight will operate on an Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
Offering over 180,000 seats each year, the new service will offer seamless connections and a consistent long-haul on-board experience for those customers connecting from Tel Aviv seamlessly via London Heathrow to destinations throughout North America across both the Virgin Atlantic and Delta networks including New York, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
As well as flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer 20 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.
This fast cargo service will offer new opportunities for companies looking to export and import goods such as fresh produce and high-tech products between Israel and prime markets in the UK and US.
Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, commented: “This year marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to achieve our ambition to become the most loved travel company.
“Tel Aviv represents a fantastic opportunity for us - Israel’s economy is booming and as one of the world’s leading tech hubs we’re anticipating many business travellers and entrepreneurs flying between Tel Aviv and the UK.
“We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US-Tel Aviv market, using the strength of our trans-Atlantic joint venture with Delta to offer customers from Tel Aviv a wide range of US destinations connecting through London Heathrow including New York and San Francisco.”
He added: “I’m also thrilled to introduce this new destination to our leisure customers, and I know it’s somewhere they’ll love to visit.
“Renowned for its cultural sites and with UNESCO recognised architecture, Tel Aviv also boasts beautiful beaches, a buzzing artistic and nightlife scene, incredible food and is a great base to explore the tourist destinations of the region including the iconic historical city of Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the Dead Sea.”
In 2019, Virgin Atlantic will welcome the first four of 12 Airbus A350-1000 to its fleet which not only boasts a totally redesigned on board experience for customers but will help transform the fleet into one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky.
Israel tourism minister, Yariv Levin, added: “The entry of one of the world’s leading airlines into Israel is another expression of confidence in the Israel tourism product.
“The revolution that we have implemented in the ministry of tourism in recent years is bearing fruit with record-breaking numbers of incoming tourism to Israel.
“The new flights will be integrated with the marketing campaign in Europe, which highlights Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“I am convinced that, with the entry of Virgin Atlantic into Israel, we will see continued growth in incoming tourism from the UK.”
Virgin Atlantic is also looking forward to becoming the founding member of a new, $13 billion transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop destinations, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas and Manchester to Los Angeles.