German’s second largest airline, Air Berlin, has given tourism in Israel a shot in the arm with a new twice-weekly flight to Tel Aviv. The inaugural flight is to leave Berlin Tuesday night and land at Ben Gurion Airport before dawn, when a festive reception is scheduled.
The flights will leave Berlin on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, arriving the following mornings. Air Berlin’s recent absorption of smaller companies will bring added flights to Israel from other European routes. Nearly 70 flights will reach Israel from several German cities, including Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg. Fourteen weekly scheduled and charter flights will depart from Berlin.
“The success of the Tourism Ministry in encouraging another airline to fly the Germany-Israel route is of great importance in realizing the tourism potential from Germany to Israel,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.
More than 140,000 tourists from Germany visited Israel last year, a 40 percent increase from the previous year. Despite the worldwide financial crisis, 60,000 tourists have landed in Israel from Germany during the first five months of this year, a six percent decrease compared with last year but significantly less than decreases from other countries.
The Tourism Ministry is investing 15,000,000 shekels ($3.8 million) in a campaign to encourage more visitors from Germany.