El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL)is planning at least one daily flight between Israel and Morocco using Dreamliners for the five hour journey, sources inform "Globes." Last year, long before yesterday's normalization agreement was announced, El Al attempted to launch daily Tel Aviv - Casablanca flights as relations between the two countries began to warm. The then El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin even visited Morocco and met with executives at national carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) in order to promote the direct air links that ultimately failed to mature. Israir management also visited Morocco in late 2019 in attempts to launch direct flights and organized tours to Marrakesh.
To date Israelis have been permitted to visit Morocco with a special visa on indirect flights. El Al said, "The company welcomes the historic announcement and will begin preparing for direct flights to Casablanca subject to obtaining all the required approvals from the various authorities. The company has been checking out the economic feasibility and operational implementation of operating direct flights to Morocco, which is expected to be very popular with Israeli customers."
Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. CEO Uri Sirkis is also readying for his airline to start operating on the route. Sirkis believes that in 2021 there will be potential for 150,000 Israeli tourists visiting Morocco during the year. He said, "At least 30,000 Israelis currently visit Morocco annually arriving both as part of organized tours and individual groups. Sirkis says that Israir is planning at least five weekly flights and he expects the flights to begin before Passover in March. He estimates that fares will be $400-500 return and a week's vacation including accommodation and jeep tours will cost between $1,200 and $1,800.
Sirkis also points out that normalization with Morocco will also shorten the flight path for the six-hour flights it operates between Tel Aviv and Tenerife in southern Spain.
The third Israeli carrier Arkia Airlines Ltd. also intends operating Israel-Morocco flights. Arkia said, "Arkia welcomes the planned peace with Morocco. Arkia will be ready immediately following the signing of an aviation agreement to operate daily flights to the destination. The company will market packages, traditional and organized tours to the destination."
Royal Air Maroc, which has a fleet of 57 aircraft flying 7.3 million passengers annually to more than 100 destinations, with Casablanca as its hub, will also likely launch regular scheduled flights to Israel.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 11, 2020
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