TEL AVIV: Israeli airlines are ready to resume flights to Turkey after a 15-year suspension, the government said.
Under an aviation agreement signed between the two countries, the first of its kind since 1951, their civil aviation authorities allow the resumption of flights by Israeli companies to a variety of destinations in Turkey, according to separate statements issued by Israel’s Transport Minister Merav Michaeli and the Foreign Ministry.
Israeli airlines halted flights to Turkey 15 years ago, due to security restrictions that involved high expenses, reports Xinhua news agency.
Currently, only Turkey’s flagship companies Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines fly on routes between the two countries.
In the first half of 2022, Turkish Airlines, carrying more than half a million passengers, was in the third place in passenger numbers flying to and from Israel, according to data from the Israel Airports Authority.
“The new agreement is a historic step in promoting aviation relations between the two countries,” Michaeli noted.
“It is another important step towards strengthening the economic and strategic ties between Israel and the countries of the region.”
In recent months, the relations between Israel and Turkey have been warming up after years of tensions.
In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara and met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and later on, the foreign ministers of the two countries paid mutual visits.
Earlier this week, Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivay announced the reopening of the Jewish state’s Economic and Trade Mission office in Turkey.