The first commercial flight between the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv and Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh took off on Sunday, Israeli national airline El-Al said.
The carrier said in a statement, flight 5193 operated by El-Al subsidiary Sun d’Or, departed Ben Gurion International Airport at 0715 GMT.
Direct flights have long been in operation between Tel Aviv and Cairo since Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace accord with Israel.
The two countries have lately bolstered their ties with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visiting Egypt twice since coming to power in June and meeting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in September.
In early October, a plane branded with the logo of Egypt’s national carrier Egyptair landed in Israel for the first time, a flight described as “historic” by the Israel Airport Authority.
Before then, Egyptian flights to Israel had been operated by an Egyptair subsidiary, Air Sinai, set up solely for the Israeli route and without displaying the Egyptian flag on the exterior of its planes.
According to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN), two other Israeli carriers — Arkia and Israir — will operate flight routes with Sharm el-Sheikh late on Sunday in addition to Egyptian airlines which will run flights on the same route.
Some in Egypt continue to oppose ties with the Jewish state. The Egyptian branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which opposes Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, has called for a boycott of two Israeli-organised dance festivals due to take place in Sinai over the coming days.
Until 2020, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab governments to have normalised relations with Israel. Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in Washington in 1979, ending a military conflict between the two countries.
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