British carrier Virgin Atlantic has announced it will launch flights from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv/Ben Gurion from this autumn. The first scheduled service is due to take place on September 25, and will mark the start of a new daily operation between the two cities.
Virgin have rostered their Airbus A330-300 for the five-hour journey, which will offer 33 Upper Class lie-flat beds, 48 seats in premium economy and 185 in economy.
Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic CEO commented: “2019 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”
Weiss also indicated that Virgin Atlantic sees the new route as “a significant opportunity” to increase competition in the US – Tel Aviv market, leveraging the firm’s joint venture arrangements with Delta Air Lines to provide feeder traffic.
The news marks a rapid re-entry to the Middle East for Virgin Atlantic after the company announced it was pulling its Heathrow to Dubai route from March 31 this year “due to a combination of external factors”.
Virgin Atlantic will welcome the first four of 12 Airbus A350-1000s to its fleet in 2019. The airline promises “a totally redesigned onboard experience for customers” with the aircraft also helping “transform the fleet into one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky”.
The carrier is also set to become a founding member of a new US$13bn 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 Heathrow to Las Vegas/McCarran and Manchester to Los Angeles.
Tickets for the new Tel Aviv service go on sale from February 25.