Updated May 15, 2019 - 11:01 pm
The launch of a nonstop flight between Israel and Las Vegas is seen by officials as a win for tourism and business sectors in both regions.
El Al Israel Airlines will launch the service June 14, according to Clark County Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis.
“We know that the business community, both local and over there in Israel had a lot of interest in this flight,” Vassiliadis said. “We suspect this will be one of those win-win for tourism and for convention and business travelers in Las Vegas.”
A Tel Aviv-to-Las Vegas flight will depart Ben-Gurion International Airport at 7 a.m. Fridays and land at McCarran International Airport at 11:15 a.m., with a travel time of 14 hours, 15 minutes.
A Las Vegas-to-Tel Aviv flight will run Saturdays, departing McCarran at 10:45 p.m. and landing at Ben-Gurion at 10:15 p.m. Saturdays, with a time of 13 hours, 30 minutes.
Customers have been required to fly to New York first on JetBlue Airways via a code-share agreement with El Al, where they will transfer to an El Al plane on their way to Tel Aviv.
The flight was added after the demand for the nonstop service presented itself, according to Michael Strassburger, vice president of commercial and industry affairs for El Al.
“This was not an integral part of our strategy, but we’ve realized recently that Las Vegas had become so popular among Israelis, so we decided to launch this service,” Strassburger said. “It will supplement our service to the West Coast, whether it be Los Angeles or San Francisco.”
The Las Vegas travel market was growing in double digits ahead of the nonstop service plans, he said, and since the announcement of the flights, the outlook for the market grew by 17 percent.
On top of El Al’s numbers, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority does its own research, working with the resort corridor to obtain valuable data about where new international nonstop service makes sense.
“Lately we’ve had a great relationship with the properties in town, too,” said Steve Hill, CEO of the convention authority. “That’s kind of new. It’s general information; we don’t get specific names of anybody, but the number of customers that they have coming from different destinations. That kind of on-the-ground information matters.”
With international travelers sometimes flying to other cities in the region before landing in Las Vegas, tracking international customers was tough, Hill said.
Strassburger added that El Al has added a special flight set to land in Las Vegas on Jan. 6 to serve Israeli passengers heading to the 2020 CES, an international consumer electronics show.
All flights will use Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft with economy, premium and business class options. The Dreamliner can hold up to 330 passengers and is known for its fuel efficiency and range, which in turn has opened up new nonstop routes, according to Boeing.
El Al, which began operating in 1948, now flies to 36 destinations from Israel, serving hundreds of other destinations worldwide via code-sharing and partnerships with other carriers. The airline last year flew over 5.6 million passengers.
El Al serves six other North American destinations with nonstop service, including San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami and Toronto.
“We’ve seen some very early bookings and our customers were very welcoming of this service,” Strassburger said. “People in Israel weren’t expecting this type of service, especially from El Al, but that’s the type of change that we’re doing.”
Contact Mick Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakerson Twitter.