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El Al Offers One-day Getaway for Israelis to Shop in Europe

Israelis who want to get away from it all will soon be able to fly to Europe for a day’s worth of fun and shopping.

El Al, Israel’s national airline, has announced a new marketing campaign that will enable people to fly from Tel Aviv to London or Paris and return the same day.

The price for the getaway, not including purchases in Harrods department store or along the Champs Elysees, will be about $330.

The carrier, which is facing a budget deficit of up to $45 million this year, said it will introduce the one-day excursion at the beginning of November, the company’s low season.

“El Al is looking into new creative marketing approaches that will provide additional passengers to fill our planes during the quiet winter months,” said the airline’s spokesman, Nachman Kleiman.

Kleiman attributed El Al’s financial problems, which peaked in 1996 with an $80 million deficit, to a number of factors: a decrease in tourism to Israel due to the volatile security situation; higher international fuel costs; and devaluation of the shekel against the dollar.

After market research concluded that thousands of Israelis fly to Europe every year to shop, El Al decided to introduce a one-day getaway, Kleiman said.

Stressing that it takes only four hours to fly to London and Paris from Israel, he said, “Many people from Chicago fly to New York for the day.”

El Al expects the one-day fare to attract businesspeople and upscale Israelis.

“Israelis are adventurous, they’re shoppers, and like to try things that are different,” Kleiman said. “When a friend asks them what they did yesterday, they can say they flew to London to go shopping.”

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