El Al Israel Airlines conducted its maiden flight to Eilat on Sunday, after the airline was licensed by the Transportation Ministry to fly the route in an effort to increase competition.In a ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport’s Terminal 1 that preceded the 8 a.m. flight, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, El Al chairman Amikam Cohen and El Al CEO Eliezer Shkedy unveiled El Al’s Eilat Red Sea , the company’s first plane to fly the route. The plane then took off carrying the VIPs, as well as journalists and tourism professionals.RELATED:El Al opens the skies to bicycles10 million passengers and only one runwayAs a special guest, Shkedy invited retired general Avraham Adan, who led the force that conquered Eilat from the Jordanian army in the 1948 War of Independence. Adan’s son, an El Al pilot, flew the route’s first flight.Shkedy himself made the trip twice on Sunday and said that he was satisfied with the experience.“We are very happy and very proud.This is an important day for El Al, but also for Israel and especially the Negev and the city of Eilat,” said Shkedy. “We plan to substantially increase the numbers of foreign tourists coming to the city and offer the travelers a quality experience at high standards. We estimate that running regular flights between Tel Aviv and Eilat will increase the number of foreign and domestic tourists to the city significantly.”El Al will be offering three daily flights to Eilat, as well as one on Friday morning and one on Saturday evening.The planes it is using on the route are Boeing 737-700s, which can carry up to 137 passengers.The Eilat route is the company’s shortest. Flights last 55 minutes and are being offered at introductory rates starting from NIS 99.