Foreign and Israeli airlines have recently announced price
cuts on airfares and holiday packages for May and June,
apparently heralding a trend toward lower prices for the
Lufthansa, for example, is offering a pair of round- trip
tickets on its Israel-New York-Boston line for $1,999.
British Airways' round-trip fare on its route from Israel to
New York, Philadelphia or Chicago is just $777.
Although airlines often lower their prices during April and
May -- the slow period between Pesach travel and the high-
demand months of July and August -- a new factor has changed
that picture this year: the dearth of travelers to and from
Industry estimates regarding low passenger forecasts for the
next three or four months are based on the current situation.
From January 1 to April 14, 2002 there was a 12.6 percent
decline in international passenger traffic through Ben-Gurion
The main reason for the expected reduction in passenger
traffic this summer is the prolonged security situation. It
is already clear that tourists will not be coming from
abroad. Most tourists, particularly Europeans, plan their
holidays well in advance.
The airlines are also expecting a drop in outgoing tourism.
Reserve duty is having an effect on Israeli travel abroad.
Reduced outgoing tourism , already evident during Pesach,
will probably affect travel abroad for Shavuot.
The difficult economic situation in Israel will also affect
outgoing summer trips.
Competition between the airlines over smaller number of
summer travelers will be aggressive.
Another marketing gimmick being employed by the airlines is
special attractions on flights. The Dutch airline KLM, for
example, has announced a Spanish food festival in its
business class until May 31 on all intercontinental flights
originating in Amsterdam, including to Israel.
Improved service and upgraded equipment on planes will be
another focus for attracting passengers and will be
highlighted in the airlines' advertising campaigns.
Passengers on Continental Airlines' international flights,
for example, will enjoy more comfortable "business first"
Despite the drop in tourist traffic -- both now and that
anticipated in the summer -- there has been no change in
flight schedules of most of the foreign airlines that fly to
Israel. Only American Airlines has canceled the addition of
three flights per week that were to commence in May on its