Virgin Atlantic is claiming a near 250% week-on-week rise in bookings between Heathrow and Tel Aviv after Israel was declared a quarantine-free green list destination.
Interest in the Caribbean remains strong despite its current amber classification, with Antigua and Barbados proving to be the two most popular destinations for later in 2021.
Orlando remains the most visited destination page on the airline’s website, while summer bookings to the US remain buoyant, with New York the most popular US destination on the network.
Many more travellers are paying for cabin upgrades and additional leg room seats. Bookings in Virgin Atlantic’s Premium cabin, which offers pre departure drinks and a 38” inch seat pitch, are up 25% week on week, while an additional 20% have been opting for Upper Class.
The airline is raising frequency to Tel Aviv to a daily service in June from four times a week, going up to double daily in July.
The coastal city can be reached with a flying time of four hours.
Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said: “We know there’s pent up demand to travel and our surge in bookings to Tel Aviv reflects this.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in interest throughout our network, particularly to Israel, as consumer confidence returns, allowing our customers to finally plan a much-needed sunny break or reconnect with family, friends and business colleagues.
“Following a tough year, we understand holidaymakers are looking to spoil themselves with a premium on board experience, which is highlighted by high bookings in our Upper Class and premium cabins.”
He added: “It’s now vital that the government builds on the list of destinations on the green list, including the US.
“While transatlantic links are restricted £23 million in economic value is lost each day, which is why a transatlantic travel corridor is vital to deliver a much-needed boost to economic recovery.
“We urge the UK government to expedite talks with the Biden administration to lead the way in opening the skies ahead of the G7 in June.
“Consumers and businesses need to book and travel with confidence and demand clearly demonstrates eagerness to travel safely. There is no reason to delay.”