Direct flights between Melbourne and Israel are a step closer with the signing of a letter of intent by the Victorian government and Israeli carrier El Al in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
The letter, signed by Victorian Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll and El Al CEO Dina Ben Tal Ganancia, will see the Victorian Government and the airline work together to secure non-stop Tel Aviv to Melbourne flights by June 2024.
It will be the first time an airline has serviced non-stop flights between Israel and Australia. El Al did make a handful of direct repatriation flights during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, since Saudi Arabia and Oman opened their airspace to the Israeli carrier, the journey can now be completed in around 15 hours.
The airline intends to operate three services per week, which are expected to add 44,000 seats to Melbourne each year, deliver a $48 million annual boost to Victoria’s economy and create an estimated 155 jobs in aviation and tourism.
“We’re partnering with El Al, Israel’s national airline, to back direct flights between Melbourne and Tel Aviv to strengthen business connections and create jobs locally,” Carroll said.
“More international flights to such an important trading partner will power our economy and boost our status as a key destination for tourism, trade and investment.”
Ben Tal Ganancia said, “We look forward to launching our first ever non-stop flights to Melbourne as we position Victoria as Israel’s gateway to Australia. We thank the Victorian Government for its support.”