Israel’s flag carrier is consolidating its flight schedule and the move will have a direct impact on operations in Canada, PAX has learned.
El Al Israel Airlines will indefinitely suspend non-stop flights out of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) on October 27, 2022, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, El Al was flying three times a week from Toronto to Tel Aviv. That schedule was later reduced to two times a week as the global travel and tourism industry reopened.
Jacob Mazgaonkar, sales and marketing manager at El Al Canada, confirmed the news with PAX in an email late Tuesday night (June 21).
“As a continuing consequence of COVID, EL AL, like many other airlines, has been forced to reduce its flying from the pre-COVID levels,” Mazgaonkar wrote. “This consolidation of our flight schedule means that we will regrettably be indefinitely suspending our non-stop flights to Toronto.”
The fall shutdown puts Canadian travel advisers like Judith Coates in the lurch.
The travel advisor with The Travel Agent Next Door told PAX that she was notified about the closure yesterday in an email that was sent from El Al’s groups department.
Coates said she had four groups booked with El Al – amounting to 30 to 40 passengers each – that were set to fly to Israel from this November to February 2023.
“I've been scrambling all afternoon to try and find alternate seats on other airlines and fares have increased by as much as $300 since I booked the ones with El Al,” Coates wrote PAX in an email yesterday.
It appears that El Al’s closure at YYZ hasn't been applied on the carrier’s website just yet.
As of Wednesday morning (June 22), flights from Toronto to Tel Aviv were still up for sale throughout the October to December 2022 period.
Mazgaonkar said El Al will “continue to offer convenient connections to Israel through either the U.S. or Europe with our partner airlines.”
The carrier’s final flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto, and then back to Tel Aviv, will be on October 27 and “we will be providing re-accommodations to any passengers who are already holding tickets on EL AL for travel to or from Toronto” after that date, he said.
This is a developing story.