El Al Israel Airlines resumes flights to Turkey after 16-year hiatus
El Al Israel Airlines has announced the resumption of its commercial flights to Turkey after a 16-year break. The flights operated by El Al's subsidiary Sun d'Or, restarted with three round-trip flights per week between Tel Aviv and Istanbul as of March 30.
Sun d'Or Airlines landed a Boeing 737-900 aircraft carrying 172 passengers from Tel Aviv at Istanbul Airport at around 09.20 on Wednesday. Passengers were greeted with flowers by airport officials.
El Al had halted its flights to Turkey in March 2007 due to high security costs. Since then, flights have been limited to Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines. The decision to resume flights was made following the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and the increased demand from Israeli travelers.
It is reported that the number of flights per week will be increased to four in the near future.
Turkey's Ambassador to Israel, Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, said the resumption of flights will strengthen the partnership and relationship between the two countries. Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz said he expected that the direct flights will boost economic cooperation and tourism for both countries.