Virgin Atlantic is to launch a new route from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv from Monday 25 September 2019.
Flights will operate daily and the route will be operated with an Airbus A330 aircraft.
It is relatively rare for Virgin to launch a route to a destination outside the US. Indeed, many non-US routes have been suspended in recent years in favour of increased flights to the US. Tel Aviv is also a destination already well served from London by BA, easyJet and El Al. However, this route is likely to have been chosen to pick up feeder traffic to Delta and Virgin flights to the US.
When Air France-KLM and Virgin combine their respective transatlantic joint-ventures with Delta, it will also benefit from joint-marketing by Air France and KLM.
Virgin Atlantic has not yet officially confirmed the schedule, but local media report an afternoon departure from London Heathrow and an early morning departure from Tel Aviv, subject to seasonal changes.
London Heathrow – Tel Aviv
Flight VS453 Depart London Heathrow 13:30 – Arrive Tel Aviv 20:35
Flight VS454 Depart Tel Aviv 07:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 11:10
From Sunday 27 October 2019:
Flight VS453 Depart London Heathrow 16:00 – Arrive Tel Aviv 23:05
Flight VS454 Depart Tel Aviv 06:05 – Arrive London Heathrow 09:55
Just under a year ago, as part of a reshuffle of flights between London Heathrow terminals as British Airways digested its acquisition of bmi, BA decided to move all of its flights to Tel Aviv from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1, with all flights operated by an Airbus A321 aircraft.
This proved to be unpopular with passengers for three main reasons:
1. The switch to Terminal 1 meant no access to BA’s Galleries Club and First lounges in Terminal 5 and a change in terminals for the majority of transfer passengers.
2. The switch from three/four class widebody aircraft to a two class, economy and business class, aircraft.
3. The change in aircraft meant that no premium economy product was available on this route and members of the British Airways Executive Club could not use frequent flyer miles (“Avios”) to upgrade to business class (Club World).
BA has now reversed this decision and from Sunday 30 March 2014 all flights to Tel Aviv will operate from Terminal 5. Flights will operate twice daily, with an Airbus A321 aircraft and a four class Boeing 777 aircraft.
It has not been confirmed whether any routes will move from Terminal 5 to 1 to accommodate the move.
Terminal 1 is due to close in Spring 2016, at which point it is expected that BA’s flights will be consolidated in Terminals 3 and 5.