LONDON – The British government has hinted at the reintroduction of the “traffic light” system with the intention to kickstart international travel inbound and outbound from the UK, which is expected to restart from May 17th, 2021.
The traffic light system is entirely dependent on the vaccination efforts and infection rates of each country. With most European countries expected to be listed as Red (high risk), The Daily Mail reported that only a handful of countries are expected to be in the Green category (low risk). These are expected to be countries such as the Maldives, Malta and Israel (Mikhailova, 2021).
Israel has led an impressive vaccination scheme. According to the Guardian, 8 million out of its 9 million population have been vaccinated with a 90% drop in Coronavirus-related deaths and infections. In February 2021, there were more than 10,000 newly confirmed cases a day compared with the latest figure of just 363 cases on April 3rd, 2021 (Holmes, 2021).
How can I get there and who’s operating, and can I book it?
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were five key carriers on the route between the United Kingdom and Israel. Due to the unpredictability of the pandemic, airlines have operated varied schedules.
EL AL Israel Airlines operated up to five flights a day from London Heathrow, London Luton Airport, and Manchester Airport. It is not entirely clear which routes the airline intends to operate but the airline has been maintaining regular passenger and cargo flights to and from London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 using Boeing 787-9, 787-8, and 777-200 aircraft. According to the EL AL website, bookable availability is being shown from both London Heathrow and London Luton Airports with four daily flights. Two morning and midday departures and two overnight flights.
British Airways operated up to three flights a day from London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Tel Aviv was one of the key launch destinations for the airline’s newly introduced fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft. During the pandemic, the airline halted operations in winter as Israel banned foreign passenger traffic from entering the country but had maintained cargo and recently reintroduced regular passenger flights. According to BA’s website, bookable availability is shown for a single daily morning flight.