Israeli airline Arkia will introduce two new routes to India starting from September 28, 2019 using recently acquired Airbus A321LR. The carrier confirmed to begin non-stop flight operations from Tel Aviv to Goa and Kochi with 220 seats and a full flight service on board. With one-way duration of seven hours, Arkia will fly once a week to Goa on Tuesdays and twice a week to Kochi on Mondays and Fridays. From 27th October 2019, the flight to the latter city will move to Sundays and Thursdays. The air travel will run all year round except during the monsoon season in India. This announcement has come at a time when Israel Ministry of Tourism has recorded a 21% growth with 70,800 Indian tourist arrivals to Israel in 2018 vis-à-vis 58,700 travellers in 2017 leading India to the 12th position as the source market for the destination.
Speaking about the new development, Hassan Madah, Director, Israel Ministry of Tourism – India & Philippines said, “In light of the significant increase in incoming tourism from India over the past few years, the Ministry of Tourism has been encouraging of Israeli airlines like Arkia to foray into the Indian market. We see India becoming one of the key source markets for Israel in the coming years and with Arkia’s direct flights to Goa and Kochi, the Indian traveller’s interest will surely increase. Goa attracts many Israeli tourists who visit the Indian state for leisure holidays, while Israel has recorded a notable mix of pilgrimage and leisure travellers from Kochi. With nonstop operations from the West, North and now South of India; this will help meet the growing demand and enable us to achieve higher Indian arrivals to Israel in 2019.” With bookings to commence from 24th March 2019, a one-way ticket price will start at $250 from Kochi and $300 from Goa with priority seating at an additional $35. Arkia’s A321LR has a BYOD IFE (bring your own device) wherein the entertainment system will use an app for viewing on a passenger’s personal device.
In addition to Arkia, El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) services the direct Mumbai-Tel Aviv sector with three weekly non-stop flights and Air India flies direct from New Delhi to Tel Aviv five times a week.