El Al Revives Dublin Launch Plans
The Israeli carrier originally intended to open a route during summer 2020.
El Al Israel Airlines will begin flights to Dublin (DUB) from next spring after delaying the planned route launch by almost three years because of the pandemic.
The service from Tel Aviv (TVL) starts on March 26, 2023, operating three times per week onboard Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Flights will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with a journey time of approximately 6 hr.
The 4,031-km (2,177-nm) sector was last served nonstop by Arkia Israeli Airlines in 2019, which regularly offered a limited number of scheduled flights during the months of July and August.
“The addition of this direct route will open up a new sun destination for Irish travelers and is likely to prove popular also with those seeking to make a pilgrimage journey to the Holy Land,” Dublin Airport MD Vincent Harrison said.
In addition to religious traffic, El Al CEO Dina Ben Tal Ganancia said the route is likely to attract VFR passengers given Dublin is home to a large Israeli community. The flights should also appeal to business travelers given both Tel Aviv and Dublin have strong tech sectors.
El Al originally intended to enter the Tel Aviv-Dublin market in May 2020, but the plans were put on hold indefinitely following the COVID-19 outbreak.
In September, the airline said it hopes to launch flights to Tokyo Narita (NRT) from March 1 using 787-8s. It has a fleet of three 787-8s and 12 787-9s, and intends to take delivery of a further 787-8 next year to facilitate the Japanese expansion.
The carrier has twice planned to launch flights between Tel Aviv and Tokyo, but each attempt has been thwarted by the COVID-19 crisis. An initial launch date of March 2020 was postponed as the aviation industry ground to a halt, while a second try in March 2022 was also abandoned following the omicron outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions imposed by Japanese authorities.