El Al has received permission from Israeli authorities to begin regular flights between Tel Aviv and Japan, officials of the company and the Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety announced Sunday.
Japanese officials are expected to authorize the start of regular commercial flights to Nagoya by the Israeli carrier, with representatives of the two countries' Civil Aviation Authorities expected to meet in the near term to work out details of the arrangement.
The start of regular commercial flights to Japan - the first from Israel - could eventually pave the way for El Al to begin passenger flights to Tokyo, the Transportation Ministry said.
Cargo deliveries by El Al to Nagoya could begin as soon as spring 2008, airline CEO Haim Romano said Sunday.
One of Israel's largest trading partners, Japan is also being targeted as a potential source of tourists by Israel's Tourism Ministry.
Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich signed a deal in Tokyo last month with Japan's largest travel agency, with the agreement returning Israel to the list of countries promoted by the agency. The head of the travel company, JTB, also pledged to lobby the Japanese government to authorize the start of non-stop flights between Tokyo and Tel Aviv.