SFO-TLV tickets will go on sale 10/10 for travel starting 03/30/16 and SFO-AKL tickets go on sale 10/17 for travel starting 07/01/16. The Auckland flights will start off 3x weekly and move to daily service on 10/28/16.
American announced in August that they would completely pull out of the Tel Aviv market on 01/05/16. Allegedly the flight had never been profitable, despite statements from USAirways’s president Scott Kirby calling the route among the most lucrative in their network.
Even more bizarrely, they announced they would not try the route from their JFK and Miami hubs which seem like more natural fits for Tel Aviv service, especially considering that Miami has no nonstop service to the holy land despite its huge Jewish population. After all, Delta successfully launched JFK-Tel Aviv service despite the Atlanta-Tel Aviv route not working out for them. However American said that they saw “no route to profitability for Tel Aviv service.” So much for the benefits of the being the world’s largest airline…
But American’s loss is their competition’s gain.
Delta announced last month that they would pick up much of the slack by bumping JFK-Tel Aviv nonstop service from 7 flights/week to 11 flights/week as of next May.
And now YNet (Hebrew) is reporting that United will be adding nonstop service from San Francisco-Tel Aviv with 3 flights/week effective 03/30/16 on their 787-900 Dreamliner.
YNet says that the SFO-TLV flight will depart at 8pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays and arrive at 8:10 pm the next day (14:10 flight duration). The TLV-SFO flight will depart at 12:55am on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and arrive at 6am the same day (15:05 flight duration).
The 787-900 has 48 lie-flat business class seats, 88 economy plus seats with 35 inches of pitch, and 116 economy seats with 32 inches of pitch. (The 777-200 that operates from Newark has 50 lie-flat business class seats, 72 economy plus seats with 35 inches of pitch, and 145 economy seats with 31 inches of pitch.)
This effectively fulfills what Brian Znotins, United’s head of network, told me at the United DO in Chicago 3 years ago would happen when United picked up their 787-900 aircraft:
-The Newark-Tel Aviv route is an anomaly. While most international routes survive or die by their premium class passengers the TLV route is extremely successful in coach but less so in Business, where it is full of upgraders. While the route was once Continental’s most profitable the introduction of Delta service to Tel Aviv eroded the profits on the route. When Continental ordered 787s many years ago it was widely though that they would operated a 3rd daily Tel Aviv flight but now that route has been pushed down the list as there are bigger fish to fry. While it seems unlikely for the 787-800 to do a Tel Aviv run it’s possible we’ll see Tel Aviv flights with the coming of the 787-900 in 2014.
-While on most flights 1 business seat is more profitable than having 3 more economy seats Tel Aviv seems to be an exception and if they had a plane heavier in coach seats it could make more sense for Tel Aviv.
–On DDF we’ve had some lively discussions about a 3rd United TLV flight from Chicago or S. Francisco. There’s actually a lot of internal debate on that very topic as the revenue guys think there’s going to be a lot of business class travel between San Francisco and Tel Aviv while the network planning guys think Chicago would make more logical sense as more traffic from across the country can feed into it. Of course a 3rd daily flight out of Newark can also make sense as that grabs traffic from NYC as well as the entire country.
I do find it interesting that San Francisco won the internal debate over Chicago, but premium traffic is king I suppose and Silicon Valley and tech traffic will supply it. The only question is will their be enough traffic from west coast connections to fill up the back of the bus.
I’m not surprised Newark didn’t get a 3rd flight due to the increased NYCcompetition from Delta.
I won’t be surprised to see Chicago pickup nonstop service from El Al or United in the future though.
In North America El Al flies nonstop from Boston, JFK, Los Angeles, Newark, and Toronto to Tel Aviv. Air Canada flies from Toronto, Delta flies from JFK, and United will fly from Newark and San Francisco to Tel Aviv.