One would think that an airline named Tel Aviv Air would be based in Israel, hence the name. However, this is not the case for a startup named after the Mediterranean coastal metropolis. Tel Aviv Air will be based out of Hamburg Airport and intends to begin flights to its namesake destination Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport beginning September 19th, 2021. The route will take four and a half hours one way and has no current non-stop competition even though El Al, EasyJet, and Israir all fly from Berlin.
Tel Aviv Air will use a Boeing 737-800, reportedly to be leased from Polish charter specialist Enter Air, who has a fleet of 25 aircraft, including two 737 MAX 8s. The aircraft, which have 189 seats, will be separated into two cabins: 14 premium economy seats with the middle seat left empty and the remainder of the plane in a standard economy configuration. The airline says on its website that tickets for the twice-weekly service were supposed to go on sale by mid-July, but no price point has yet been made public. However, the airline has set an ambitious target to reach sales of nine million in Europe in its first financial year. There are either plans either increase frequency quickly, or those tickets will go for very high prices.
The airline was started in October 2020 by Shlomo Almagor and Paul Scodellaro. Its founders say that the catchment area for the flight includes almost 12 million people in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, and Bremen. Almost 6,000 Jews in Northern Germany are also an important target for family-and-friend trips. Mr. Almagor, one of Tel Aviv Air's founders, has managed a travel company called Israel Reisen Almagor for the past thirty years. The financing for the airline is backed by silent investment partner Beteiligungsgesellschaft Hamburg GmbH (BTG). In addition, the financing model is secured by Burgschaftsgemeinschaft Hamburg GmbH (BG), which specializes in startup operations.
In addition, Hamburg Airport is happy to welcome the single route operator to its gates at Terminal One. The head of the Aviation Business Unit at Hamburg Airport, Dirk Behrens, commented on the new addition to European aviation, "We are very pleased to welcome Tel Aviv Air at Hamburg Airport. The flight connection between Hamburg and the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv is a great asset for tourists, business travelers as well as travelers planning a family visit. We wish Tel Aviv Air a good start at Hamburg Airport."
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