According to news agencies, during a visit to Turkey by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, it was possible to agree that the first flight will depart from Israel this Thursday, February 16. Cohen was in Turkey as a sign of solidarity — after the country was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last week.
Flights are resuming in accordance with a bilateral agreement on civil aviation signed last year. It allows Israeli airlines to operate direct flights to Turkey for the first time in more than a decade.
Officials estimate that about a million Israelis will visit Turkey in 2023. This is 25 percent more than in 2022, when 800,000 Israeli travelers visited Turkish resorts.
Until 2022, Israeli airlines did not operate direct flights to Turkey for more than a decade after relations deteriorated in 2008. At the same time, Turkish carriers operated up to 16 flights per day to Israel until the pandemic.
In fact, Turkish Airlines has become the third largest airline operating in Israel, and has a 7 percent share at Ben Gurion Airport.
Relations between Israel and Turkey have been tense for more than a decade, and it was only in July last year that the two countries signed a bilateral agreement on civil aviation that allowed Israeli carriers to resume scheduled flights after more than a decade.
< p> Over the past two years, Israel has managed to make progress in international relations. For example, Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to Israeli carriers following the Abraham Accords in 2020, and Cypriot carrier TUS Airways today operates direct flights between the two countries.