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  • Steve Jaffe

Up, Over, and Around -- Recent Flight Activity of Note

A quick look at some random but noteworthy flights and trends in and around Israel. Enjoy the ride.


A rare El Al flight from TLV to DEL, this one on June 27. While Air India has been permitted to fly between the two cities on a more direct route over Oman and Saudi Arabia, El Al still has to take the long way around down the Red Sea. El Al has suspended its BOM service due to the COVID-19 conditions in India, but Air India continues to operate the DEL-TLV with one weekly flight.

El Al Flight 74 Tel Aviv to Delhi down the Red Sea around Saudi Arabia
LY 74 TLV-DEL 6/27/21 (Flightradar24.com)
Air India Flight 140 Tel Aviv to Delhi over Saudi Arabia
AI 140 TLV-DEL 7/7/21 (Flightradar24.com)

Meanwhile, El Al is not the only regional airline suffering from indirect routing. Check out Royal Jordanian’s route from Beirut to Amman.

Royal Jordanian Flight 408 Beirut -- Amman
RJA 408 BEY-AMM 7/6/21 (Flightradar24.com)

Flight time for RJA 408 on July 6 was 1:28. The actual straight line distance between Beirut and Amman? Just 148 miles. By the way, the airline is now operating the route over Syria. Check out the curly-cue route flown July 29. Not really any faster – 1:25 flight time – and a lot trickier airspace to navigate.

Royal Jordanian Flight 408 Beirut -- Amman
RJA 408 BEY-AMM 7/29/21 (Flightradar24.com)

Overflights have picked up again to the point at which they were prior to the Gaza conflict in June. July 9 was a busy night. All the flights at this early evening hour were to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Bahrain. Over the midnight and early morning hours, you’ll see the flights transiting over Israel from Europe to destinations not only the Middle East but India and Southeast Asia as well.

Airline overflights over Israel
Overflights 7/9/21 (Flightraadar24.com)


Zooming back out, TLV is seeing a fairly well-distributed network of flights from around the world, including North America, Asia, and Africa. South America is still not represented – LATAM has suspended its GRU-TLV route since the COVID outbreak, and El Al was unable to start its Melbourne test flights prior to the outbreak, but otherwise, there is pretty diverse network.

Flights to and from TLV
Flight to/from TLV 7/13/21 21:41 UTC (Flightradar24.com)

Most of the pre-pandemic North American routes have been operating for months (El Al, American, Delta, United, Air Canada) as well as the myriad of European routes by Israeli and European carriers. Other routes (not all operating during the snapshot below) include China and Hong Kong (EL Al and Cathay Pacific) as well as BKK (El Al), and the newly started HKT route (El Al), the Middle East routes to UAE and Bahrain by El Al, Israir, Arkia, flyDubai, and Ethihad, as well as the popular vacation spots of the Seychelles (El al and Air Seychelles) and Zanzibar (Israir) and to Ethiopian Airline’s main hub in Addis Ababa.


And here’s a good example of all the activity up and down the Red Sea.

Flights to and from TLV over the Red Sea
Up and down the Red Sea 7/20/21 (Flightradar24.com)

Note that LY 87 seems that its heading over Yemen – not! Rather, Flightradar24 must have lost the ADS-B signal, at which point it automatically assumes a straight line route to its destination. The Phuket route is new and is currently the only scheduled passenger service to Thailand (BKK is operating as cargo-only), as the Thai government established something of a Phuket enclave in which foreign tourists are free to roam the island quarantine free – and after a period of time, if COVID-free, move about the rest of the country.


El Al's first flight to Morocco
El Al's first flight to Morocco (Marakesh) 7/25/21 (Flightradar24.com)

And, on July 25, the moment we’d been waiting for….the first commercial flights between Israel and Morocco. Israir was first out of the gate with a flight to Marakesh (RAK) on Sunday morning, followed by El Al three hours later. Arkia will inaugurate service on August 4. No word yet on a start date from Royal Air Maroc.



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