Airlines continue service boosts

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NEW YORK -- Despite the continuing problems in the Holy Land, air carriers are offering new services and flights from North America to Israel.

Delta Air Lines kicked off its daily nonstop service from New York's Kennedy Airport to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on June 1, and El Al Israel Airlines will increase its summer service to 39 flights a week from six U.S. cities.

Tragically, Delta's initial flight arrived in Tel Aviv about 12 hours after the June 1 nightclub bombing that killed 21 people.

Due to safety concerns, Delta canceled its outbound flights June 2 and June 3, but resumed New York-Tel Aviv service June 4.

Air France also canceled a handful of flights to Israel, but service was back to normal at press time.

Delta's arrival into the market brings the number of carriers flying the North America-Israel route back to four.

The flight is Delta's first nonstop roundtrip service to Israel from the U.S.

Delta flies MD-11 planes with daily departures from Kennedy at 6:05 p.m. and arrivals in Tel Aviv at 11:50 a.m.

Return flights leave Tel Aviv at 1:50 p.m. and land at Kennedy at 6:25 p.m.

Members of the airline's SkyMiles frequent flyer program through Aug. 31 can earn double miles for a roundtrip economy class ticket and triple miles for a roundtrip BusinessElite ticket. Interested customers must pre-enroll for the offer.

Delta joins El Al, Continental and Air Canada in the North America-to-Israel market. TWA recently dropped its service to the Holy Land.

Delta, Continental and Air Canada all have daily nonstop flights.

Continental operates its service out of Newark, while Air Canada flights originate in Toronto.

El Al continues to be the main player in the North America-to-Israel market.

From June 24 through Sept. 4, the Israeli national airline will run 39 flights a week from six U.S. gateways.

In New York, the carrier will fly 18 nonstop flights a week from Kennedy and another seven nonstops per week from Newark.

El Al also operates four flights a week from Miami (Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays), three from Chicago (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) and one from Orlando (Wednesdays).

These flights, plus another four from Los Angeles, make connections at Kennedy or Newark.

In addition, the carrier features nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv -- which, due to a polar route, take less than 13 hours -- on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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