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Israel, Egypt expand direct flights with new Tel Aviv-Sharm el-Sheikh route

Prime Minister’s Office says opening of route to Sinai resort town was first discussed by Bennett and Egyptian President el-Sissi when they met in September

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi meet, on September 13, 2021, in Sharm el-Sheikh. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi meet, on September 13, 2021, in Sharm el-Sheikh. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel and Egypt have agreed to increase direct flights between the two nations with the opening of a new route between Ben Gurion Airport and the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Wednesday.

The new flights are expected to start as early as next month, during the week of the upcoming Passover holiday.

The agreement was hammered out in recent days after talks on security measures required for the route to operate were held between the Shin Bet and National Security Council and unnamed “other parties,” along with the Egyptian government, the PMO said in a statement.

The statement said the opening of the new route was first discussed in a meeting between Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh last September, the first such summit between Israeli and Egyptian leaders in more than a decade.

“This is another step in warming the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt,” Bennett said Wednesday. “Cooperation between the two countries is expanding into many areas, and it benefits both nations, as well as regional stability.”

He added, “Israel is opening up to more countries in the region, and the basis for this longstanding recognition is the peace between Israel and Egypt. Therefore, on both sides, we must invest in strengthening this connection, and that is what we’re doing.”

First commercial flight of EgyptAir lands at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, October 3, 2021 (Israel Airports Authority)

In October, EgyptAir, the national airline of Egypt, launched a flight route from Cairo to Tel Aviv, weeks after the Bennett-Sissi meeting in Sinai.

Israel and Egypt have bolstered their diplomatic ties in recent years. The two governments share security interests in the Gaza Strip — Egypt, like Israel, sees the enclave’s Hamas rulers as a serious threat — as well as in Sinai and the eastern Mediterranean.

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