American Airlines is coming back to Israel. The US aviation giant – it became the largest airline in the world after merging with US Airways in 2013 – announced on Thursday that it will operate a non-stop flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Ben-Gurion Airport three times a week beginning in September 2020, reports Trend referring to Jerusalem Post.
“As demand continues to grow between the United States and Israel, American will support that growth with three weekly flights from its largest hub.” American said in a statement. “ The tech industry continues to grow in Israel, and American will be able to provide the most efficient routing to U. tech cities like Austin, Texas and San Jose, California.”
Ticket sales are to begin in October, though no initial price was listed. The roughly 12-hour flights will be leaving from Israel every Monday, Thursday and Saturday night, close to midnight.
American pulled out of the Israel market suddenly in January 2016, when US Airways shut down its non-stop flights from Philadelphia. The airline said at the time that the route was canceled because it was losing money, but rumors swirled that it had to do with pressure from Qatar Airlines, which at the time was negotiating a deal – which fell through – to acquire a significant stake in American.
Israel’s consul-general in Houston, Gilad Katz, characterized the move as “dramatic” for three reasons.
First, he said, it will strengthen the economic ties between Israel and Texas, with trade today standing at nearly 1$ billion a year. Texas-based energy firms, such as Noble Energy, have a huge stake in Israel, for example. Secondly, he said, it will boost tourism to Israel. And thirdly, he pointed out, Texas has – along with Florida – the largest concentration of Evangelicals in the US, and easy, direct flights to Israel will be a huge boost in developing and cultivating those ties.
“This flight demonstrates the important bond Israel and Texas share, while continuing to strengthen business and tourism ties between us,” he said. “This new route highlights the growing demand from Americans and Israelis who are interested in learning more about one another.”