Arkia Airlines intend to expand their local travel network by adding new flights to the Dead Sea, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.
The airline's 72-seat ATR planes will carry passengers from the Sde Dov and Ben Gurion airports to the Masada Airfield. The expansion will include sales of spa packages, tickets to cultural events and trips in Masada and the Dead Sea region.
Arkia CEO Gadi Tepper noted that no other airline currently operates regular flights to the Dead Sea.
'Time to turn Dead Sea into top tourist attraction' (Photo: Reuters)
"It all started when Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, who is promoting the Dead Sea's election as one of the new world wonders, issued the challenge," Tepper said.
According to the executive, the airline has been working with the Civil Aviation Authority on testing out the possibility of ATR planes landing in the region.
"We decided that the time has come to focus (on the Dead Sea) and turning it into Israel's top tourist attraction by holding Israeli and international conventions there, organizing trips and selling packages that include flights," he said.
According to Tepper, a flight from the center of the country to the Masada Airfield takes about 25 minutes – a considerable improvement over the two-and-a-half-hour drive.
"People will be able to fly to the Dead Sea in the morning, spend the day at the hotel spa or take a hike in the region, and return home on an afternoon flight," he said. "Of course, they will also be able to stay a night or more at the local hotels as part of the packages we will offer."
The measure aims to attract both local and international tourists.
Arkia and the Israeli Opera have signed a contract recently, which grants the airline primary sponsorship of the opera performances held at Masada in June. The airline will thus be able to sell thousands of tickets to the coveted shows, combining them in their package deals.
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