Direct flights between Tel Aviv and Sharm El-Sheikh begin operating on Sunday

AFP , Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Apr 2022

The first direct flight between the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv and Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh took off on Sunday, Israeli national airline El-Al announced in a statement.

A file photo of an El Al flight. AFP

Flight 5193 — operated by El-Al subsidiary Sun d’Or — departed Ben Gurion International Airport at 07:15 GMT on Sunday, the carrier said.

In Mid-March, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced that Egypt and Israel  agreed to expand direct flights between the two countries, and that a direct flight route between Tel Aviv and Sharm El-Sheikh would begin operating in April during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Previously, Egyptian flag carrier EgyptAir had no direct flights between Sharm El-Sheikh and the Israeli capital except for transit flights. However, in early October, a plane branded with the logo of Egypt’s national carrier landed in Israel for the first time. The flight was described as “historic” by the Israel Airport Authority.

Egyptian flights to Israel have been operated by an EgyptAir subsidiary — Air Sinai — that was set up exclusively for the Israeli route and did not display the Egyptian flag on the exterior of its planes since 1979, when the two countries signed the Camp David Peace Accords.

Bennett has visited Egypt twice so far since he took office in June, meeting with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in September, and with El-Sisi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in March.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian branch of the Palestinian-led movement Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) — which aims to press Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians by promoting boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel — has called for a boycott of two Israeli-organised dance festivals due to take place in Sinai over the coming days.

BDS Egypt announced on Saturday that through public pressure, it managed to make the hotel hosting the dance festivals ask their Israeli organisers to search for another venue.

Until 2020, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab governments to have normalised relations with Israel.

That year, they were joined by Bahrain, Morocco, and the UAW, which all now operate direct flights to Israel.

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