Fairfax County EDA, MWAA join in celebration of United Airlines’ service between Dulles and Tel Aviv

Seth Livingstone, slivingstone@fceda.org, 703-790-0600

Friday, February 22, 2019

Fairfax County, Virginia – More than 200 members of the Greater Washington air travel and business communities turned out in Tysons Corner Thursday night to celebrate United Airlines’ nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. The gala, “Connecting the Nation’s Capital with Israel,” was held at the Hyatt’s Regency Ballroom.

“Our organization is very excited with the conclusion of a project that started about 10 years ago,” said Jan Mul, international marketing director of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), which collaborated with United Airlines and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in organizing the gala. “From an economic development perspective, I cannot stress enough the importance of Dulles International Airport in our region.

“It is not for nothing that companies such as Amazon, Volkswagen, Hilton and many more have selected this region as home for their headquarters. When you read about the rationale for their decision, you hear (about) the high-qualify workforce, diversity and the proximity to an international airport.”

  • Event photos available upon request

Dulles International sits at the western edge of Fairfax County, approximately 25 miles from Washington, D.C.  The airport serves as a hub for United Airlines, which will begin its Dulles-to-Tel Aviv service on May 22.

Jack Potter, president and CEO of MWAA and Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president of international regulatory and policy, agreed that they’d like nothing more than to see the service, which will initially operate three times a week, expand to daily service in short order.

“The Washington-Tel Aviv air travel market has grown by more than 40 percent in the past five years, showing clear demand for this important route,” Potter said.

“We have a catch phase or saying at United that describes what we do,” Morrissey said. “We like to say that we’re about connecting people and uniting the world – and isn’t that exactly what we’re talking about tonight?

“With this new flight, we’ll be able to offer a new gateway to Israel, connecting the seeds of government in Washington as well as connecting the thriving Dulles Tech Corridor to Israel, which is home to some of world’s most advanced companies that develop sophisticated technologies in scientific and medical research, companies that innovate and companies that make the desert bloom.”

Thursday night’s gathering also marked the launch of an MWAA-Israel task force designed to support and grow the service. The task force is comprised of leaders from the area’s business, research, academic, government and tourism communities.

“I am very excited for the direct flights,” said Yifat Alon-Perel, minister for economic and trade affairs at the Israeli Embassy. “I think it will be wonderful for the business community. I foresee more and more Israeli companies coming to this area and, hopefully, more American businessmen from the Fairfax County area engaging with Israel.

“If you look at startup companies, increasingly they are discovering the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area and finding that the proximity to the government is very significant given all the contractors that are here. Entrepreneurs are discovering that many headquarters of important companies are here as well. More would like to explore coming to this area and the one thing that was really missing, until now, was a direct flight.”

Evan Koppel, United’s regional sales director Mid-Atlantic, noted that the benefits of a Tel Aviv-Dulles connection extend far beyond the needs of two fast-growing tech sectors.

“In addition we have customers coming from Israel that will want to visit Washington and beyond,” Koppel said. “In our peak periods, we have more than 270 flights a day from Washington to locations all over the United States and the world. When we look at a market, we look at not only the origin and destination demand but the connecting traffic and what opportunities exist to grow business.

“So we’re looking at tourism and companies as far away as Denver and the western part of the U.S. that will use Dulles as a connecting point to Israel. Washington is great for connections. Our Washington hub is, operationally, one of the top in the United system. The new route is going to save people time and drive additional business between Tel Aviv, the Fairfax County area and the Greater Washington region.”

Time magazine called Fairfax County “one of the great economic success stories of our time.” Business growth and innovation help Fairfax County fund the nation’s top-rated school system and other public services that contribute to the quality of life of residents. Fairfax County offers businesses a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, access to global markets through Washington Dulles International Airport, a vibrant investment capital community and a highly skilled, well-educated workforce.

The award-winning Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Follow the FCEDA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.