Will we have cheap flights in the future? Entrepreneur Edward Winter, easyJet's former chief operating officer, is planning to launch a new airline that will operate low-cost flights to Israel.
Winter, a trained pilot and former chief operating officer of British Airways, met recently with Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov to discuss the initiative.
The new airline, which will go by the name "Jet Israel," will operate only low-cost flights to and from the Jewish state.
Winter, who also met with Israeli aviation officials, claimed he can spark an aviation revolution in Israel, just like easyJet has done in Europe.
As part of negotiations, Winter asked Israel to provide the airline with a safety net. According to the proposition, he will be entitled to financial compensation if the company books occupancy of between 70% and 90%. However, if occupancy reaches over 90%, he will not receive compensation.
The Tourism Ministry already drafted financial models for the new airline and consulted Finance Ministry officials about the safety net, which is estimated to reach approximately NIS 100 million (about $28 million).
EasyJet, Europe's largest low-cost airline, operates flights to Israel from three different European destinations – London, Geneva and Basel. However, it has not managed to offer cheap tickets at the target price.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov told reporters during a press conference to conclude 2010, "easyJet is not a low-cost company. Instead of pulling the prices of all the other airlines down, it pushed them up.
"We need a real low-cost company with truly cheap prices. We are formulizing ideas to operate low-cost companies that fly directly to Israel and are examining the subject with Israeli and foreign airline companies," he said.
Misezhnikov added that he is acting to expand the marketing of Israel to destinations such as India and South Korea, where large populations of Evangelical Christians live.
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