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BA drops Tel Aviv to short haul (A320) with reduced tier points – and will fly via Larnaca

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British Airways has announced some substantial changes to its Tel Aviv service – changes which are likely to substantially benefit Virgin Atlantic, assuming that the latter resumes flights as planned in April.

Tel Aviv is being downgraded from a long haul route to a short haul route.

Not only will it be on an A320 aircraft from now on, but from 2025 it will only earn short-haul tier points in British Airways Executive Club.

British Airways A320 to Tel Aviv

Here’s what will change.

Instead of a Boeing 787, which was being used before the flight suspension, services will resume using an A320 short haul aircraft.

This isn’t unusual for British Airways, of course. Larnaca, Cairo and Sharm are similarly lengthy flights which use a short haul aircraft.

The difference here, of course, is that none of those routes are competing with Virgin Atlantic which offers a long haul aircraft with Premium Economy and beds in Business Class. El Al also uses a long haul aircraft on one of its two daily Heathrow flights.

Tier points will drop to short haul levels, but only from 2025

The downgrade will see British Airways Executive Club tier points reduced on the Tel Aviv route.

From 30th March 2025 – so you have 14 months notice – the London to Tel Aviv route will earn:

  • 80 tier points each way in Business Class (currently 140 tier points each way)
  • 40 tier points each way in flexible Economy (currently 70 tier points each way)
  • 10-20 tier points each way in no/semi flexible Economy (currently 20-35 tier points each way)
British Airways Tel Aviv flights Larnaca

Tel Aviv flights will now stop in Larnaca for a crew change

The Independent reports that Tel Aviv flights will resume on 1st April – with a catch.

There will be just four flights per week, using an A320.

Outbound flights will stop at Larnaca in Cyprus for a crew change. Passengers will remain on the aircraft for the 45 minutes that this will take.

A new crew will fly the short hop between Larnaca and Tel Aviv.

The reason for this is that, if the landing has to be aborted at the last minute, the crew has enough flying hours left to return to London. Without this flexibility, BA would be forced to make emergency arrangements to land at an alternative airport outside Israel.

Return flights will operate non-stop from Tel Aviv to Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic is also due to resume flights to Tel Aviv on 1st April. This will obviously use a long haul aircraft (Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have any options!). You may want to switch across if you are looking for Premium Economy or for a ‘proper’ long haul Business Class experience.

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Comments (174)

  • PeterK says:

    Via Istanbul with Turkish is my choice, a dedicated business cabin (2+2 on narrow body aircraft) and even flat beds on some LHR rotations. It’s pretty much a direct routing.

  • Nick Biskinis says:

    If the BA won’t sell LHR-LCA tickets on the LHR-TLV route then why not route the flight as LHR-TLV-LCA – overnight the crew and then operated LCA-TLV-LHR? This would enable non stop London-Tel Aviv-London service. It is hard to see how a short haul one stop TLV service from LHR (with its massive downgrade in service level) is going to be competitive with Virgin Atlantic or EL AL

    • Alex says:

      You mean do 2 flights daily,
      One lhr-tlv-lca-lhr
      One lhr-lca-tlv-lhr

      Don’t see how it makes much odds which direction the lca stop is otherwise?

      Think the point is though, by time it’s flown to Israel area there’s little fuel left in a 320 to return to Heathrow. The flight back from tlv is less risky, once it’s up it’s got to continue to lhr…

  • LVC says:

    That’s so inconvenient – not to mention already having lost out on 7 months of flying British & building tier points. And the nerve to reduce tier points? That’s a slap in the face for flying 20 yrs w BA. I’ll have no choice but to stop flying British. The stop in Larnaca is so unnecessary. Not smart. Goodbye BA! 👋🏻 Loyalty means nothing in the eyes of the Brits. Good business for EL AL! You just boosted their business.

  • Jonathan says:

    With all the slating of BA on them changing their route TLV from a wide body aircraft to narrow body, and just about everyone’s fuming, you’d wonder if Sean Doyle will be reading and if he is, whether or not anything will be done…

    • Londonsteve says:

      I strongly suspect not. The opprobrium will have been expected. Bottom line is TLV is clearly not a commercial priority for BA; they’ll keep flying there to keep it on the route network, offering less seats is likely to result in the same or higher margin that when they flew wide-bodied aircraft which are no doubt being re-routed onto higher yielding routes. At risk of straying into politics there, the Israeli government have arguably conducted themselves in a manner that was predictably likely to damage tourism and even the willingness of VFR traffic to visit. Faced with an altogether much reduced group of willing seeking to fly to TLV, BA have acted logically and decided to fly a smaller aircraft appropriate to demand. In the event of a sustained peace in the region and if demand grows in the future, BA will no doubt look to fly larger capacity planes but for now, the A320 suits their needs. I doubt they’ll have problems filling it, BA will be able to russle up enough BA fans, people transferring from other One World carriers at LHR, British snobs who wouldn’t fly anyone else as well as corporate passengers whose travel agreements prefer BA.

  • Nick Biskinis says:

    If the flights termimate at LCA (albeit passegers cannot use the TLV-LCA sector) then the BA flights provide non stop flights to/from Tel Aviv which is better for passengers whilst allowing crew change at LCA. BA needs to create a medium haul Near East concept for LCA/CAI/TLV/AMM

  • BEN says:


  • Ophir says:

    In what seems to be a related move just got an email from BA saying that my status (BAEC Silver) will be automatically extended for one year beyond the current one. I am based in Jerusalem. Here is the message:

    In recognition of your continued loyalty, we are getting in touch to let you know that we’ll be renewing your Silver status for one more year. That’s irrespective of the number of Tier Points you’ve earned in your current Tier Point collection year.

    You don’t need to do anything. We’ll automatically apply another year of Silver status to your account within the next few days.

    We look forward to welcoming you back on board.

    With best wishes,
    Your Executive Club Team

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