EgyptAir is planning to be more open about its service between Cairo and Tel Aviv. Presently the airline runs a flight to Israel via its low-key subsidiary, Air Sinai. However, that may soon change as Egyptair has submitted a request to operate Tel Aviv – Cairo flights under its own brand. This comes on the heels of a number of several Middle Eastern nations ‘normalizing’ relations with Israel.
Out of the closet
EgyptAir’s operations to Tel Aviv via its Air Sinai subsidiary haven’t been a total secret. However, it’s certainly been much more low-key than everything else operated under the ‘mainline’ brand of EgyptAir.
According to i24news, unnamed staff close to the situation say that Israel has received an official request from Egyptair to operate the flights instead of Air Sinai. The request would see Egypt replace Air Sinai with its national carrier to operate 21 flights weekly.
i24news also notes that the Egyptian government believes that its national carrier can benefit financially from this move- particularly from connecting flights. Egypt is well-positioned to be a hub and transit airport between Israel and the African continent.
Air Sinai as it is today
Air Sinai has been operating the route since 1982. It was former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that refused to let EgyptAir land in Israel with an Egyptian flag.
However, there was still enough demand to justify an air link between the two cities- which paved the way for Air Sinai. The carrier’s aircraft do not feature the Egyptian flag as part of its livery.
This EgyptAir subsidiary currently runs seven flights a week using two unmarked Airbus A220-300s registered as SU-GFA and SU-GFD.
Improving relations with Israel
If all goes according to plan, this would symbolize another step towards normalizing relations between Israel and Arab nations in the region. Here are just some of the recent developments of increased cooperation:
- December 2020: An El Al-Gulf Air Codeshare is established
- November 2020: flydubai operates its first commercial flight to Israel
- November 2020: The first commercial Gulf Air flight to Tel Aviv Lands in Israel
- October 2020: Etihad operates its first passenger flight to Israel
- October 2020: Jordan grants Israel overflight rights
- September 2020: Israir operates its first Israeli flight to Bahrain
We’ll have to see whether the request is approved. However, with the above examples of increased cooperation between “the two sides,” there’s certainly a better chance things will go as planned.
Another thing we’ll have to keep an eye on is whether or not EgyptAir can indeed capitalize on this route to make Cairo a transit hub between Africa and Israel. After all, Cairo is much more “on the way” than the respective hubs of Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish Airlines.
What do you think? Can EgyptAir position itself as the go-to airline for connecting Israel and Africa? Let us know in the comments.