Air Cairo launched Monday the planned direct flight route between Tel Aviv and Sharm e-Sheikh, marking the first time an Egyptian airline has operated a flight from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport to Egypt.
The new route was agreed upon by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a meeting between the two in September. The route was originally planned to be inaugurated on the intermediary days of Passover.
Air Cairo flights are expected to be operated between Israel and Egypt three days a week according to Diesenhaus Unitours, the Egyptian airline's representatives in Israel.
"Israelis are very interested in flying out to Sharm e-Sheikh," Hani Sobul, Diesenhaus Unitours CEO said, noting the success of the first flight, which was "filled to the brim" by 170 Israelis.
"Tourism is a bridge to forming strong diplomatic relations between nations," Tourism Minister Yoel Razbozov said at the groundbreaking of the flight route on Monday. "The historical peace with Egypt, with Jordan and the Abraham Accords are what led to cooperations in the field of tourism which cement the strong ties between Israel and those countries."
The new flight route, Razbozov said, is a "good example" of the ties' benefits. The Tourism Ministry reportedly urged airlines to lower prices for the new flight route, with several agreeing to comply with Razbozov's request.
The route, which was announced in March, is “another step in warming up the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the time. The prime minister also thanked the Shin Bet for leading the formulation of the security framework that enabled the operation of the flight route.
Egypt, specifically the Sinai peninsula, is a popular vacation spot for Israelis during holidays. During Passover, some 5,000 Israelis crossed the Taba border crossing into Sinai, causing delays that lasted for several hours.