This weekend, El Al will inaugurate nonstop flights from Tel Aviv to Boston, while Miami remains without any direct flights to Israel. How did MIA manage to lose out on an El Al flight, when there is so much more traffic on the Miami-Tel Aviv route?
TNM obtained records of a meeting last December between Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s staff and El Al executives in which airline officials expressed several concerns about restarting service to Miami.
One major worry was the length of the flight. At 14.5 hours, the route requires a large amount of fuel and is expensive to operate. El Al officials believed that a 777 would be required due to the length of the route (they are using a 767 to Boston, and previously flew a 767 to Miami,) but said that the plane would be too big too fill. The premium market between the two cities is also too small, they said.
Another factor was the El Al’s relationship with American Airlines, the dominant carrier at MIA. El Al passengers would be unable to connect on American flights thanks to bad blood between the two carriers, while El Al had a deal with Jetblue for connecting flights in Boston.
Unmentioned at the meeting was the imminent threat of American Airlines starting service on the route and providing competition. At the time, sources had confirmed directly to TNM and hinted to airport officials that American would soon add nonstop Miami-Tel Aviv flights. As of yet, however, the airline still hasn’t publicly confirmed if and when the service will begin.