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Ultra low-cost carrier, Ryanair has announced its plans to expand into Israel – the 31st country on its destination map.
The airline will operate three routes from Eilat Ovda Airport in the far south of the country, near the border with Jordan. Initially, flights will operate to and from Budapest in Hungary, Kaunas in Lithuania and Krakow in Poland.
Ryanair has been working for years to seal an agreement with Israeli authorities, and an open skies deal created by Israel and the EU in 2013 paved the way for the airline to establish operations to the Middle Eastern country.
“Ryanair is pleased to announce our entry into the Israeli market from November 2015, our 31st country, with three new Eilat Ovda routes to Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow, which will deliver 40,000 customers annually,” said Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brien.
It means that Ryanair will now serve three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia, and is continuing to negotiate with Israeli authorities to further grow its route network to the country.
The airline’s arrival at Budapest Airport gives Ryanair an immediate 13 percent share of flights and seats across all routes to the Middle Eastern country, which will now be served by three carriers from Budapest.
The Hungarian gateway recorded a significant 20 percent jump in Israeli visitors in 2014, and expects to serve considerably more passengers this year than the 230,000 carried between the two countries last year.
Demand between Israel and Eastern and Central Europe has significantly increased, and this is reflected in the rise in available seats between the two.
Our analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that in 2010, there were just over 2.7 million available seats between Israel and Central and Eastern Europe, whereas in 2015, the number of available seats has increased to almost 3.8 million – a 38.7 percent increase over the five year period.
The chart below highlights the prominent carriers in the market between Israel and Central/Eastern Europe since the start of the decade. It shows the prominence of Eastern European carriers, particularly in Russia and Ukraine.