El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) is to launch twice weekly cargo flights between Tel Aviv and Istanbul starting May 24, the Port2Port website reports. El Al will use Dreamliner wide-bodied passenger aircraft for the route.
El Al confirmed that it has requested to operate Tel Aviv - Istanbul cargo flights and was awaiting approval from the Turkish aviation authorities.
For many years El Al flew passenger flights on the Tel Aviv - Istanbul route but these flights were halted in 2010, when relations between Israel and Turkey soured following the Gaza flotilla incident.
However Turkish Airlines has over the years hugely increased flights to Israel to as many as 10 daily flights prior to the coronavirus crisis, including cargo in the hold of the planes. It is some of this cargo business that El Al hopes to pick up. Turkish Airlines hopes to gradually resume flights to Israel from next month.
For the time being, and while the return to full operations of passenger flights is far off, El Al is focusing on cargo flights. Last Friday, El Al had 13 cargo flights in the air as part of a deal it signed to operate 60 cargo flights from Wuhan in China to London, Paris and Frankfurt via Tel Aviv. The cargo flights are conducted by Dreamliner planes, with each flight carrying 25 tons of humanitarian equipment.
The cargo flights to Turkey, if approved, will be carried out by Dreamliner aircraft, which were purchased for long-haul passenger flights, not cargo operations.
El Al has also converted Boeing 777 passenger aircraft for cargo operations. The airline has also agreed with a US company to sell three Boeing 737 aircraft for $76 million and to lease them back.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 18, 2020
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020