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British Airways plans to restart flights to Tel Aviv on April 1, 2024, but with a significantly reduced schedule departing from London Heathrow.
Prior to the 7 October 2023 attack by Hamas on Israel, British Airways operated two daily flights between the UK and Israel using long-haul Boeing 787 aircraft.
Once flights to Tel Aviv resume, a single Airbus A320 will cover four days per week for short-haul trips.
The setup will follow the same format as European flights, where the business class option includes a folded-down middle seat instead of a fully reclined bed found in long-haul premium seating.
A representative from BA stated: “We have made the business choice to transfer Tel Aviv to our short-haul network once we resume flights on April 1st. This will align these flights with other flights of similar length that we offer, and we will continue to monitor this decision.”
According to Rob Burgess, the editor of Head for Points, BA’s use of short-haul aircraft on long routes is not uncommon. The airline’s Euroflyer is currently using a short-haul aircraft for its Gatwick to Sharm el Sheikh route, and Larnaca has always been a short-haul destination. Additionally, BA has been using standard short-haul aircraft for flights to Cairo and Amman since retiring the ex-BMI ‘midhaul’ fleet.
The flight from London with BA will initially make a stop in Larnaca, Cyprus for a crew change. Passengers do not have to disembark during the 45-minute stop.
A fresh team will be added for the remaining 210 miles of the journey from Larnaca to Ben Gurion International Airport, located near Tel Aviv. The flight back to London Heathrow will run directly without any stops.
The crew switch is designed to provide the most flexibility in case landing in Tel Aviv is deemed too risky. If traveling nonstop from London, the choices for returning to base would be limited by flight hour restrictions.
In recent weeks, several major airlines such as Air France, Lufthansa, and Ryanair have restarted their flights to Tel Aviv from airports located in Continental Europe.
Wizz Air is resuming flights from Luton to Israel, as well as connecting flights from Budapest, Larnaca, Milan, Rome, Sofia, and Warsaw.
El Al, the national airline of Israel, has consistently operated flights between London and Tel Aviv. Their service includes a fully-equipped Boeing 787 for long-distance travel from Heathrow and a more affordable Boeing 737 for shorter trips from Luton.
EasyJet, the largest low-cost airline in Britain, has not made any announcements regarding the resumption of its flights from the UK. The company stated that it is currently reviewing this decision. Tickets for flights from Gatwick to Tel Aviv are available for purchase starting October 27, 2024, when the winter season begins.
The Independent has inquired with Virgin Atlantic regarding their intentions to recommence flights from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.