EgyptAir launches direct flights from Tel Aviv to Cairo next month

The Times of Israel has learned that EgyptAir, the national carrier of Egypt, is scheduled to operate direct flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv as of early next month.

Once flights begin after the throne holiday, four direct commercial flights per week are expected between Ben Gurion International Airport and Cairo.

Currently, the only flights between Israel and Cairo are operated by Air Sinai, a subsidiary of EgyptAir, which operates flights in unmarked aircraft without the Egyptian flag. Air Sinai flights between Tel Aviv and Cairo have operated continuously since the 1980s in order to fulfill the terms of the 1979 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, but it has been kept secret amid the ongoing hostilities between the two countries.

Once flights are re-launched by EgyptAir, they will be operated by fully-branded aircraft.

Also on Monday, Israel lifted travel restrictions on citizens visiting the Sinai Peninsula just days before Sukkot Day, a popular travel destination period.

After months of restrictions due to the novel coronavirus, the Israeli government has lifted restrictions on the number of Israelis allowed to travel to Sinai.

Israeli tourists at Ras Shaitan in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, April 5, 2021 (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel)

“We have been able to find a way to allow unlimited transit as well as monitor the coronavirus regulations,” said Transport Minister Merav Michaeli. “Our freedom of movement is a fundamental right and it must be preserved.”

From Monday, the Taba car crossing between Israel and the Sinai will be fully operational without restrictions on the number of entry permits, and will extend its opening hours.

Last month, Israel lowered a security travel warning for the Sinai for the first time in years. The decision came after Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel visited Israel for high-level talks on Gaza.

Over the past several years, the entire Sinai Peninsula has experienced the highest possible travel warning, Level 1, a “very significant concrete threat”, due to the presence of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in the area. But the National Security Council recently changed its warning about the southern Sinai Peninsula to Level 3, a “basic concrete threat” under which the Israelis still “recommend not to visit”, but are no longer told to leave.

During Kamel’s visit, he extended an invitation to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to visit Egypt and meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo. Last month, Bennett said he accepted the invitation and expected to travel to Egypt soon to meet Sisi — the first trip by an Israeli prime minister to Egypt since 2011.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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