Add Tel Aviv to the growing list of international cities that are a nonstop flight away from Boston.
Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Port Authority on Monday reached an agreement with El Al Israel Airlines, which will offer three nonstop flights a week to Israel, beginning in June. Logan currently handles nonstop flights to 41 overseas destinations.
“The appetite for it runs deep,” Patrick said. “The excitement about it is broad, and we are convinced that both the load and the yield will be as good for El Al as I know the route will be for us.”
Patrick made the announcement at a press conference at the State House, where he was joined by David Maimon, chief executive of El Al.
The governor commended business, community, and academic leaders, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who had worked behind the scenes to bring the airline to Logan since his initial trade mission to Israel, in 2011. He led a second delegation there in May.
Patrick referred to Israel as “one of the most productive commercial and cultural relationships that we have.” The governor said 200 companies with Israeli roots operate in Massachusetts and collectively employ nearly 7,000 people in the state. Many were attracted by the technology and health care centers.
Nadav Efraty said he moved the company he founded in Israel to Newton after he met Patrick during the first trade mission. Now, Desalitech Inc., a desalination company that treats and purifies sewage and other wastewater, has projects and employees in both locations.
Efraty said the new flight will make it easier for his workers to fly back and forth each week and decreases their travel time from about 14 hours to nine hours each way.
“Our situation is not unique,” Efraty said. “This is going to be very helpful to the businesses here and to the community. It is great to see it finally happening.”
EMC Corp., the Hopkinton data storage giant, has a large presence and a long history of investment in Israel, said vice chairman William Teuber. The company has also acquired several Israel-based businesses, such as ScaleIO, XtremIO, and RSA, over the years.
“This flight will make all the things we do there easier to access,” he said in a statement. “It’s good news for the region, and for EMC.”
The route is one of 13 nonstop destinations that have been added to Logan’s flight list since Patrick took office and focused on connecting Boston to major international markets.
Among the more recent routes is a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, launched in May, and a Hainan Airlines trip to Beijing that began in June. Cathay Pacific intends to begin offering a trip to Hong Kong next spring.
Currently, El Al flies directly to just three US cities: Los Angeles, New York and Newark, N.J. Thomas Glynn, chief executive of Massport, said Boston had to compete against larger American cities to attract the airline.
“Chicago wanted this route,” Glynn said. “San Francisco wanted this route. Miami wanted this route. There were a lot of other cities shooting at us.”
Massport says the Boston-Tel Aviv market averages 91 passengers a day in each direction and generated more than $45 million in ticket sales last year.
A Boeing 767-300 ER airplane with 218 seats will leave Tel Aviv at 12:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday and land in Boston at 5:45 a.m. The flight to Tel Aviv departs from Boston at 9 p.m. that evening and arrives at 3:05 p.m. the next day, according to Massport.
El Al is considered one of the safest airlines in the world because of its tight security. Passengers are advised to arrive hours earlier than other travelers and are interviewed by agents.
The airline will have its own screening process for departing passengers at Logan before they check in and go through the regular TSA security line.
The route cannot be finalized until it is approved by the El Al’s board of directors, which is expected to meet in the next few weeks.Taryn Luna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TarynLuna.