New direct flight route between Sharm El Sheikh and Tel Aviv to launch in April

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett describes new route as sign of deepening co-operation between Israel and Egypt

An EgyptAir plane sits on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. AP
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A new direct flight route between Tel Aviv and the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh is expected to launch in April, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday.

Mr Bennett lauded the move as “another step in the warming of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.”

He added that “co-operation between both countries is expanding in many areas and this contributes to both peoples and to the stability of the region".

There is already a direct flight route between Cairo and Tel Aviv. Egypt's government has yet to publicly comment on the new flight route.

Following Mr Bennett’s statement, Israeli airline Israir said it is awaiting approval to operate 15 weekly flights on the newly established route.

Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 under the president at the time, Anwar Sadat. While the neighbours’ relationship has been rocky, they now co-operate closely, with joint operations to combat human and drug trafficking.

In May last year, Egypt mediated a ceasefire between Israel and its long-time enemy Hamas after an 11-day war, during which more than 240 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel were killed.

In late January, Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked with a ceremony at the US embassy in Cairo.

Egypt’s tourism sector has been hit hard by the Russia-Ukraine war, the ripples of which have been felt in fast-rising prices of petrol and foodstuffs.

The war has also kept citizens of both countries, who constitute two of Egyptian tourism’s most important demographics, from being able to visit.

The tourism ministry has in recent months intensified its efforts to attract tourists from other nations. It announced this month a new promotional strategy aimed at British tourists.

Tourism accounts for about 12 per cent of Egypt’s gross domestic product.

Updated: March 16, 2022, 5:18 PM