Israel’s El Al Airlines to start flights to Silicon Valley

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – El Al Israel Airlines (ELAL.TA) said on Wednesday it will begin nonstop flights between Tel Aviv and San Francisco in the fourth quarter, as it continues to expand into North America.

El Al, Israel’s flag carrier, said it will fly the route three times a week using new Boeing (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

It will compete with United (UAL.N), which launched flights between the two cities in 2016 to accommodate Israel’s flourishing high-tech sector. Passengers on business often fly between Silicon Valley and Israel, which is one of the largest global tech centers.

“The acquisition of the Dreamliner enables us to expand our long-haul network,” said David Maimon, El Al’s chief executive. “San Francisco is an important strategic city for El Al, with great emphasis on the business market.”

In November, El Al started nonstop flights to Miami from Tel Aviv, after starting flights to Boston in 2015. It also flies nonstop to New York and Los Angeles.

El Al also said it was unifying all European flights under the El Al brand and retiring its low-cost brand UP that flew to five destinations in Europe.

Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch

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