The Tempe, Ariz., carrier said it would offer one daily nonstop flight and begin service July 2, subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Israeli officials, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Philadelphia’s dominant airline will use new longer-range Airbus 330-200 aircraft, with a capacity for more than 250 passengers, that are scheduled for delivery in the spring.
US Airways chief executive officer Doug Parker was at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday, along with Mayor Nutter, to detail the new service.
Parker said the carrier, which transports two-thirds of Philadelphia passengers, was getting 17 new long-haul, wide-body aircraft by 2011, “which bodes well for Philadelphia’s international service, and we’d like to begin more service to Europe and to the Middle East and Asia in the coming years.”
The 5,700-mile Tel Aviv route would be the longest nonstop segment in the US Airways network.
Parker said the company hoped to start selling tickets by Labor Day but added that it was too early to know the fares. Tel Aviv is Israel’s finance center and a gateway to tourism there.
The Tel Aviv departure will be at 9:15 p.m., with arrival at 3:15 p.m., Tel Aviv time, the following day. The return flight will leave Tel Aviv at 11:50 p.m. and arrive in Philadelphia at 5:10 a.m. (Philadelphia time) the following day. Return service is scheduled to begin July 3.
“You might be wondering why starting Tel Aviv is any different in an environment where fuel is costly,” Parker said at yesterday’s announcement. “China is a developing international market from the United States, whereas Tel Aviv is very established and we absolutely know that our Tel Aviv service has better economics.”
Based on current fuel prices, Parker said, it would cost $10 million to $12 million more to fly to Beijing (14 to 16 hours) than fuel costs to Tel Aviv (11 to 12 hours).