DALLAS – EI AI Israel Airlines (LY) will fly new routes to Japan and Australia. The routes are in LY’s network plans after Saudi Arabia opened its airspace.
El Al Airlines CEO Dina Ben-Tal Ganancia made the announcement during a speech at the Google tourism conference in Tel Aviv.
The new routes come in response to recent news that Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to all aircraft flying to and from Israel without exception. This has created an opportunity for Israeli airlines to fly to eastern destinations. The CEO said the flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne could last only 15 hours.
During US President Joe Biden’s most recent visit to Israel, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan disclosed Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow Israeli aircraft access to its airspace.
Aside from that, LY had intended to launch direct flights to Japan before the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, but those plans have since been stalled. The restoration of these connections may result in a considerable increase in Japanese travel to Israel.
El Al would be the sole airline operating these flight routes if they are implemented. Other Israeli airlines, including Arkia (IZ) and Israir (6H), have made petitions to fly over the neighboring country after learning about the opening of the airspace, but there hasn’t been much information released about their plans for new or revised routes.
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Digital El Al
Ben-Tal Ganacia continued by elaborating on her assertion that digitization will soon completely transform the airline industry. According to Globes, currently, about 35% of tickets are sold online and through the El Al app, while another 15% of digital bookings are made by travel agencies, making up a total of 50% of all sales.
The airline anticipates that within the next five years, digital means will be used to conduct 80% of ticket purchases.
In an effort to “ensure that they are following the full digital change,” the CEO claimed that the airline had meetings with its digital developers. In the future, everything will be done through applications, including boarding notifications, luggage location alerts, and flight upgrade notifications.
Featured image: El Al 4X-EKC Boeing 737-858. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways