Virgin Atlantic takes off to Tel Aviv

Nicholas Bettles, Commercial Manager Israel at Virgin Atlantic and Daniel Kerzner, VP Customer Experience cut the ribbon on last week’s launch of daily services to Tel Aviv.

Virgin Atlantic on 25th September commenced daily operations between London Heathrow (LHR) and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV). According to OAG Schedules Analyser, the route will be operated using the carrier’s 266-seat A330-300s, in a three-class configuration. 

Taking a closer look at Heathrow to Tel Aviv, British Airways has consistently had a higher per passenger revenue, and average fare, on the route than El Al. 

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser

As such, despite El Al having 47% higher annual traffic volumes (350,000 passengers vs 237,000 in 2018), total passenger revenue is only 32% higher (USD$115,000,000 vs $87,000,000). This reflects BA’s higher proportion of premium seats on the route.

It will be interesting to see how Virgin Atlantic positions itself between these traditional flag carriers – especially as in the coming months both incumbents will be deploying next generation aircraft. British Airways will add 331-seat A350-1000s from December, and El Al has recently started deploying 282-seat 787-9s to Heathrow. Low-cost rivals are also gaining market share rapidly, with all operators between London and Tel Aviv shown below:

Carrier Departure airport Weekly flights (W19) Equipment
Arkia London Stansted 3 A21N
British Airways London Heathrow 19 A321/B77W/A35K* (*from 01 Dec)
easyJet London Gatwick* 3 (*from 27 Oct) A320
  London Luton 13 A320
  London Stansted* 2 (*from 05 Nov) A320
El Al London Luton 9 B738/9
  London Heathrow 10 B789
Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow 7 A333
Wizz Air UK London Luton 7 A320


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