Airline To Offer Nonstop Miamitel Aviv Flights
By Claudio Mendonca
A 15% increase in the flow of travelers from the US to Israel has fueled El Al Israel Airlines to begin flying twice a week between Miami International Airport and Tel Aviv.
At 6,600 miles, the flight will be Miami International’s longest nonstop journey. Service Tuesday and Thursday afternoons is scheduled to begin March 28.
"The demand has been incredible in the last five years," said Sheryl Stein, El Al spokeswoman. "We’ve been having a huge concentration of passengers from all over the Southeast region."
El Al has provided seasonal nonstop flights from Miami to Israel, Ms. Stein said, but never year-round.
Demand has grown because the political situation in Israel has improved in the past five years, she said, expanding tourism. Depending on how business fares in the summer, when demand is usually higher, she said, flights could increase from two a week to three.
El Al’s flights are among service additions the airport has attracted. On Jan. 9, Continental Connection began operating daily flights between the airport and the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Flights to Bimini were interrupted after a Chalk’s Ocean Airways seaplane plummeted off Miami Beach in December, killing 19 passengers.
The Miami-Dade Aviation Department has been working with South African Airways for about three years to have the company return to Miami International. So far, no service has been confirmed.
"We expect them to announce new US destination points this summer, and we are hoping that nonstop service between Miami and Cape Town is one of those new routes," said Greg Chin, an airport spokesman.
"Carriers that want to expand their operations in South Florida are taking advantage of our available gates and our four-runway airfield," said county Aviation Director JosÈ Abreu. "We are extremely excited to have these new flights, and I believe these are just the first of many carriers that will be coming to MIA in 2006."