Former El Al Directors Launch A New Israeli Airline

Haifa Airport, Photo: Oyoyoy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Israel has a new airline, though it won’t face much competition from Arkia, El Al, or Israir.

Air Haifa will be a low-cost carrier based out of Haifa Airport (HFA), which features a runway that is only 4,324 feet long. That limits the plane size and range of destinations, which has left Haifa without much air service.

Air Haifa hopes to fly small planes to destinations like Eilat and Bucharest this year, with more European locations to come.

Low-cost carriers typically avoid small planes, as they’re costlier to operate on a per-seat basis. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of planes they’ll fly and if they can make it a viable business with Haifa as their base of operations.

For anyone flying to Israel’s north, bypassing the congested Ben Gurion Airport and the roads around the airport is certainly welcome news.

The controlling investor is Nir Zuk, founder of Palo Alto Networks. The next top 3 shareholders, founders, and company directors include former El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin, former El Al CCO and former Sun d’OR CEO Miki Strassburger, and former El Al Chief Pilot and VP of Operations Lior Yavor. Strauss CEO Shai Babad is also an investor.

They certainly have the aviation experience to launch a new airline.

Mr. Usishkin spoke out against Haredim several times during his reign at El Al and publicly fought against the Rozenberg takeover of the airline. He was dismissed when the Rozenberg family took over the airline, followed shortly afterward by Mr. Strassburger.

Will you take advantage of additional flights from Haifa Airport? Will the airline’s leadership make you think twice about flying them?

HT: Proisrael, via DDF

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38 Comments On "Former El Al Directors Launch A New Israeli Airline"

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What\'s good for the goose, is good for the gander

Nope. Ain’t gonna support that Anti-Semite Ussishkin

Reuven Zecharia

Since WHEN are Non Practicing JEWS Anti-Semites?!?


Anyone who hates Jews is, by definition, anti-semitic.


When they speak out against, and maintain a stance agaisnt, Jewish religious values and traditions, they are definitionally anti (against) Semites (Jews and/or Judaism). The fact that they themselves are part of a certain group due to immutable characteristics, doesn’t mean they can’t be against it.


There is enough very real antisemitism around the world that falsely labeling people as anti-semites for merely having a different path to faith or politics than one’s own does no good in the fight against racism. So I am curious what rights and respect was Ussishkin trying to forcibly strip from any Jewish individual following their own or any faith however they deem fit for themselves?

Whether or not religiously observant in an orthodox way, Ussishikin must be a person of great faith if truly believing this commercial adventure has a chance of landing a commercial success.

What\'s good for the goose, is good for the gander

The greatest anti-semites have always been Jews, so don’t be silly.
And I have nothing against people who follow a different path than myself; everyone must discover their faith for themselves.
Ussishkin though is a different story – he has publicly attacked the chareidi population in very demeaning (and false) ways. That is why he is an anti-semite, because he despises and attacks a large of the Jewish nation.


They certainly have the aviation experience to launch a new GARBAGE airline.

There, fixed it.

If these folks have any experience, it’s in running an airline into the ground. El Al was the worst of the worst for years under these guys. No interest in anything they have to offer.

Usher D

I once took a flight there via israir airlines to Cyprus with a propeller plane,
Was a pretty good experience, it’s a very small airport, and my flight was 8:30am, and I arrived 5:30 and the airport was still closed…
Although the airport is not so new, was a great experience, let’s see how things will turn out…


“which features a runway that is only 4,265 feet long”

Can’t they extend it?


Not a chance.
1. They produced sub par airline that took pasesegers for granted. Only excelling in security.
2. Embarrassingly, developed and maintained a website that makes everyone wonder how the national airline of the “start up nation” with so many technological advancements could have such an inferior website.
3. And to add insult to injury, puts down some of their most frequent and loyal customer base.

If it weren’t for number 3 I wouldn’t have commented during the 9 days.

Fan Feels

The airport is tiny , not just the runway


Elal in general is my last option for travel to Isreal always have disgusting and nastiness from them, I’ve heard they changed alot since the takeover but had family fly with them this week and seems like same old nasty service and treating you like 2nd class citizens. Wish there would be another isreali based airline to operate this route, and one of the most sophisticated countries to have a third world country airport, That’s a shame


My wife and I just flew El Al last week and had a phenomenal experience. We flew business (Thanks Etihad!) so it could be they treated us better, but they certainly do a lot to accommodate their frum passengers nowadays. There was kosher food in the EWR lounge and the inflight Mehadrin beef meal was by far the best airplane food I’ve ever had, and the IFE has shiurim and Zmanim, something no other airline offers. As far as the airport is concerned, I find TLV to be much more of a first world airport than most. The airport is gorgeous, spacious, well lit, and overall offers a very pleasant experience, which is more than I can say for some other first world country airports, like EWR terminal B or LHR T3. They even have direct intercity rail access, better than any US airport I know of.


Well put! Couldn’t agree more. We flew El Al three weeks ago. Great experience.

Sam s

The Elal business Steak and mash potatoes this month was the best airborne meal I ever had


Elal under the Rosenberg family is miles ahead of the old Elal which I avoided like the plague. They’re doing a great job now and I moved back to them from Delta and United. No comparison to the days of old when they were an embarrassment on every level.


I love elal!!


United doesn’t like Jewish passengers; they say we are a difficult route- Code words that translate as anti semitism. They don’t like the babies or kids. El AL loves babies and kids!


So interesting. I have flown United/Continental to Israel my whole life, and I found them this year to be consitently below par on service. The crew looks overwhelmed before the flight even starts.
I just flew ElAl for only the 3rd time in my life and both ways had exceptional service. Their old slogan ‘we are Israel’ seemed to true. You feel like you were in Israel with family. The crew was smiling and super courteous through the very end.


Which aircraft does that runway support ? Hope they grow to compete with ElAL


Their runway is about 600ft shorter than LCY and the largest plane allowed to land there is the Airbus A318, but that’s also due to the 5.5° approach in LCY, so it might also work in HFA otherwise, it’d have to be even smaller than that (certain Embraer, Bombardier, or ATR planes perhaps). Personally, I hope their founders do Teshuvah. Otherwise, I hope they don’t get anywhere near El Al.


If they will NOT fly on Shabbos they will have סייעתא דשמיא & Succeed

El cheapo

What are the chances?


I assume that if they have the experience they did their homework before starting….. but SHABBOS is still the figure for success.

Reuven Zecharia

Of course I’ll consider them, the alternative is a mess!


You haven’t flown El Al in a while have you


el-al still has a ways to go as far as service and communication!
of late they’re cancelling one of the tlv_ewr flts switching the 1:00am flt to 6:45am w/o any explanation and sometimes with out notification to passengers w/o any compensation or sleep over accommodations
thats totally unacceptable
a NY travel agent


Experience maybe..but…i guess they all ran elal as a low cost airline, so maybe they do know what they are doing.

ben ish chai

and also take in account the air pollution in Haifa.


You don’t have to be Jewish to fly to Israel. You’re even allowed to read Dan’s blog. But why limit destinations to Europe, even with its Christian pilgrims? Change is coming to the Mideast. Today, Bucharest. Tomorrow, Amman and Cairo. Or connections to the rest of the world through the UAE?


There needs to be a full service airport with at least flights to most of Europe from Northern Israel. We have the new airport in Eilat now and a new airport in the North will make it more accessible to people who live in Haifa, Afula, Galil and the Golan.


So just to be clear – Commenters here feel that Ussishkin is an anti-semite because he supported a courts decision that makes it discriminatory to move a women due to the uncomfortable feeling of a man? That is ridiculous. He is doing what a CEO should do.
Can someone please point me to the Halacha stating a woman cannot sit next to a man on an airplane?


Sorry got it all wrong
This is not a halachic matter,
Rather if large portion of your client base has sensitivities to whatever it may be, and your go to reaction to every situation that comes up is to blast them that tells a whole larger story


What is the “sensitivity” here and how is ELAL “blasting” those who have it?
Please expand on your generalized comments.
Seems like a bunch of free hate based on hearsay and anecdotal reports.