El Al Prepares To Reopen Passenger Flights From October

This week, El Al has announced that it will begin flights to select international destinations from October. The Israeli airline has been hampered by tight coronavirus restrictions but hopes next month will see some return to normality.

El Al at Abu Dhabi
El Al will reopen flights to limited destinations in October. Photo: Getty Images

El Al to resume flights

It’s been a tough couple of months for El Al with border restrictions forcing it to push back its service restart date. However, this week, the airline announced that things would be changing. On October 1st, El Al says that it will resume passenger flights to Athens from Tel Aviv.

In a statement on its website, the airline also stated,

“Sun D’or, a subsidiary of EL AL, will offer charter flights to several destinations in Greece and Croatia, through selected tourism wholesalers in Israel.”

Although the threat of coronavirus in the country has not gone away, last month, Israel changed its entry requirements for some countries. 20 destinations are now on a green list, which means travelers arriving from those destinations don’t need to quarantine upon entry. The list includes Croatia and select cities in Greece. This should make it slightly easier for El Al to carry out its proposed schedule.

EL AL in flight
El Al will be able to fly to and from Greece with fewer passenger restrictions thanks to cooperation between the two countries. Photo: Getty Images

El Al says that flight between Athens and Tel Aviv will run from 1st to October 23rd. Flight numbers LY541 and LY542 will operate between Ben Gurion International Airport and Athens International Airport from Sunday to Friday. Flight LY543 and KY544 will run from Monday to Wednesday and on Fridays.

El Al to add more flights in October

El Al hopes that from October 12th, it will resume flights to larger international destinations. These include:

  • London;
  • New York; and
  • Paris.

However, the outbreak of the coronavirus has not played to the airline’s favor. Unfortunately, there are tight restrictions within Israel, which still means that no non-citizens or non-residents are allowed to enter the country, though there are some exceptions. Regardless, anyone willing to enter the country needs to have prior written approval from an Israeli embassy.

From October 12th, El Al will open flights to London, New York, and Paris. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

Will the schedule go ahead?

Despite these changes, Israel is now entering its second national lockdown. With a spike in cases over recent months, no one will be allowed further than 1km from their homes. The lockdown is expected to last for three weeks until October 11th, during which time the majority of non-essential venues will be shut.

Until Israel can contain cases of the coronavirus, its tourism will suffer. This lockdown will jeopardize El Al’s passenger flights, which are due to start in October, but the outcome of the lockdown may further restrict it. Will there still be an appetite for services to London, New York, and Paris when the lockdown ends?

El Al 737-800 at TLV
How will the current national lockdown affect El Al? Photo: Raimond Spekking via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, only time will tell. As it is, El Al has said that all other flights will be suspended until October 24th when it can review the situation and make relevant changes.

Do you think El Al’s proposed schedule will be successful? Would you be interested in flying to or from Tel Aviv from any of the above locations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.