Air India Expands to Tel Aviv
From August onwards, Air India is planning on increasing its capacity between India and Israel, as it will be launching two new routes that go directly to Tel Aviv.
New Tel Aviv flights
The airline is planning to launch flights from the Mumbai and Bengaluru airport to the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. The carrier already has flights scheduled from Delhi to the Israeli capital. The company recently filed data with OAG Schedules Analyser, which shows that the flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv will start from August 1st.
As for the flights from Bengaluru to Tel Aviv will begin from the very next day. The Boeing 787-8 aircrafts will be used for the flights and they will be scheduled twice in a week. But, the airline has not opened reservations for it as yet. The OAG data showed that they have already devised a schedule from Bengaluru to Tel Aviv until October 25th and from Mumbai to Tel Aviv until October 27th.
In January, the Tata Group acquired Air India, but the airline had begun scheduling flights to Israel back in March, 2018. The flights were from Delhi to Tel Aviv and the 787-8 aircrafts have been used since then. The flights are scheduled three times in a week.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the El Al Israel Airlines also had nonstop flights operating twice a week between Mumbai and Tel Aviv and they used the same aircraft. But, the services were suspended when the pandemic struck in March 2020 and it has not resumed flights since then.
Purnima Nerukar, the general manager of Air India’s commercial strategy and planning, spoke at Routes Asia 2022. She said that the new parent company of the carrier intended to set up several new regional hubs throughout the country, as their aim was to become the biggest hub carrier.
She said that they already had a hub in Delhi, but they wanted to create similar hubs in other cities as well, as this would allow the airline to grow in every region.
Growth for carriers
Air India’s plans to expand to Tel Aviv come at a time when rating agency Icra said that there was a growth trajectory seen in the international passenger traffic for airlines in India. In June 2019, the passenger traffic had been about 1.8 million, but it had increased to 2.1 million in June 2022.
As far as the home market is concerned, the domestic passenger traffic had been 3.1 million in June last year, but it grew to 10.5 million this year. It is only 12% less than the levels recorded in June 2019 before the pandemic. The average departures in a day for June 2022 had increased significantly from last year’s numbers.
The expansion to Tel Aviv by Air India is yet another indication of the improved relations between India and Israel. The two countries have seen their diplomatic ties improve in the last few years and they even celebrated a milestone of 30 years of ties recently.