Air India to launch flights to Tel Aviv in March 2018

Air India, the most significant International Carrier from India, has been laying down plans to get even bigger by the day. Delhi San Francisco Air India flights were launched three times a week in December 2015 and then doubled frequency to 6 times a week in November 2016. They started a fifth freedom flight between London and Newark, by launching an Ahmedabad – London – Newark flightThey began flights to Madrid as well in December 2016 and took over the Delhi – Vienna flights from Austrian. I’d say that is a spectacular show given they are going in all directions.

We earlier wrote about the Air India flight to Washington DC from Delhi. This went live on 7 July 2017 as well and is operating three times a week as of now. Next, in line, the launches to Stockholm & Copenhagen, have also completed and they are operating usually there. Now, Air India is planning to increase the number of flights to San Francisco and Melbourne & Sydney.

Israel Old City

But there is one flight which has been stuck for the longest time. Air India wanted to fly to Tel Aviv for the longest time. Air India had sought to launch flights from India to Tel Aviv. However, it was looked at as commercially unviable because a Delhi-Tel Aviv flight would have been 8 hours when flying around the Arabic Gulf and 5.5 hours when going straight through the Gulf. Air India used to operate flights to Israel about two decades ago but then canned those flights due to viability.

Air India Flights to Tel Aviv Will Launch on March 20, 2018

Air India had considered operating flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv as well, but now, it seems they received clearance from Saudi Arabia to be able to overfly their airspace towards Tel Aviv, and the airline has decided to fly from Delhi instead. The airline will operate a Boeing 787-8 to Tel Aviv three times a week.

Air India Flights to Tel Aviv

Here is the tentative schedule for the new flight as per the Air India website:

AI139 DEL1800 – 2145TLV 788 247
AI140 TLV2315 – 1000(+1)DEL 788 247

At the moment, El Al is the only carrier operating flights between Israel and India. Their flights are to Mumbai, and the flight operates by crossing to Arava, then continuing through the Red sea and turning east for India later. This makes the flight time long at eight hours, something which is the time required for an India to Europe flight usually.


This is good news for the simple reason that Air India is following through with one more station to utilize those Boeing 787s.


About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Ajay, any thoughts on why the choice of 787 for this route? If they got a direct routing and a 5.5 hour block time, could they not use an A320 for the route? Is there enough volume of traffic esp premium to justify using a 787?
    Most traffic would be low yield Israeli Draft completed wanna-party type backpackers heading to Goa\Laddakh or Agricultural and Religious tourists. Who would patronize the 30 odd business seats other than free loading Sarkari Babus?

    • @Karunesh I agree. A320 could have been a more sensible choice. Perhaps AI should work on some interline arrangements with some European airlines and EL Al so that connectivity to eastern Europe could help in increasing the yield.

      • Don’t believe Tel Aviv bills itself as a hub by any means! This flight is going to cater more to O&D traffic. Well timed connections to LEH & GOI should be sufficient to atleast fill the back of the aircraft

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