Bmi says it is confident it will secure the right to start daily Israeli services from next spring, following the successful conclusion of bilateral talks with the UK.

The bilateral allows for a second UK and Israeli carrier on the route between London and Tel Aviv and bmi has put itself forward as the designated British airline.

”We”re confident and with the time-scales such as they are, we will be looking at launching in the spring,” a bmi spokeswoman told ABTN, adding: ”Bmi has a definite intention to fly to Tel Aviv as part of our medium-haul [operation].”

”It is a CAA decision, but it depends if another airline wants to serve the route.”

Should a further airline step forward, a capacity hearing would then be triggered, but bmi insists: ”We have firmly thrown our hat into the ring.”

”We will be applying to be designated immediately and our new service to Tel Aviv will operate from [Heathrow] Terminal 1, where customers can benefit from connections to a wide range of bmi flights,” said bmi CEO, Nigel Turner.

The news follows a raft of new and extra services from the UK to Israel, such as flag carrier El Al”s decision to add a Monday flight to Tel Aviv International Ben Gurion, as well as extra Boeing 747 capacity on five out of 12 services.

Thomsonfly has also announced plans to launch Luton and Manchester-Tel Aviv flights thrice-weekly, using 737-800 or 757-200 aircraft.

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