Austrian Airlines Returns To Tel Aviv & London

Following the expiry of a travel ban on visitors arriving from the United Kingdom and a relaxation of Israel’s travel rules, Austrian Airlines will resume flights to London and Tel Aviv. In a statement released today, Austrian Airlines said it would resume its regular passenger service between Vienna International Airport (VIE) and London Heathrow (LHR). The Austrian national flag carrier said it would also be resuming its daily service between VIE and Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Austrian Airlines
Austrian stopped flying to Tel Aviv because of COIVID-19 rules. Photo: Austrian

Before Christmas, the Austrian government banned flights from the UK landing in Austria to stop the UK variant of COVID from getting a foothold in the country. To combat this, Austrian Airlines continued with its two daily flights from Vienna to London but flew the planes back to Vienna without any passengers. Now that the landing ban has expired, Austrian Airlines will resume carrying passengers on the return leg back to Austria.

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Austrian flies twice a day to London

Currently, the United Kingdom only allows its citizens and residents to travel abroad for essential needs and has said that the travel ban will remain until the 17th of May. This could, however, change as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will reassess the situation in April.

Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines has two daily flights to London. Photo: Austrian

Austrian Airlines operates an Airbus A319 on flights between Vienna and London with the following schedule:

  • Austrian Airlines flight number OS 451 departs VIE at 06:40 CET arriving at LHR 08:15 GMT
  • Austrian Airlines flight number OS 455 departs VIE at 17:15 CET arriving at LHR 18:40 GMT
  • Austrian Airlines flight number OS452 departs LHR at 09:05 GMT arriving at VIE 12:20 CET
  • Austrian Airlines flight number OS456 departs LHR at 09:05 GMT arriving at VIE 22:50 CET

High Court overrules passenger cap

Following a decision by the Israeli government to only allow 3,000 arriving passengers per day, Austrian Airlines announced that it would only be flying to TLV for a limited time so that people could return to Austria. The last flight from TEL to Vie was on Saturday, March 7. With a general election set for Tuesday, March 23, and the Passover holiday beginning next Saturday night, the Israeli High Court intervened.

In a ruling made Wednesday, the court said that the government-imposed cap on the number of people wishing to return to Israel from overseas disproportionately violated civil rights. In an announcement sent to its embassies, the Foreign Ministry said it would now allow 4,000 incoming passengers and 4,000 departing passengers per day. It also announced that the Taba land crossing between Israel and Egypt would reopen in time for the Passover holiday.

Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines flies once a day between Vienna and Tel Aviv. Photo: Austrian

When talking about the High Courts ruling on Saturday, The Times Of Israel quotes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as calling the decision “wrong-headed since it risks bringing [coronavirus] variants into Israel.”

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein had also criticized the ruling, calling it “irresponsible and contrary to the public interest.”

Austrian flies once a day to Tel Aviv

Austrian Airlines operates both Airbus A319s and A320s on flights between Vienna and Tel Aviv with the following schedule:

  • Austrian Airlines flight number OS861 departs VIE at 13:05 CET, arriving in Tel Aviv at 17:35 IST
  • Austrian Airlines flight number OS858 departs TLV at 13:30 IST, arriving in VIE at 16:15 CET

What do you think about Austrian Airlines’ decision to resume flights from Vienna to London and Tel Aviv? Please tell us what you think in the comments.