Israel-based Israir Airlines landed for the first time in Morocco on July 25, 2021, nearly eight months after the two countries normalized relations in 2020, opening direct flights between the countries.
Israir Airbus A320 landed in Marrakech Menara Airport
The Airbus A320 4X-ABI aircraft 6H61, carrying hundreds of Israeli tourists, took off from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport at 08:41 and landed in Marrakech Menara Airport, Morocco 12:42, ahead of schedule.
The flight distance is 4029 km / 2503 miles, and the average aircraft speed is 701 km/h / 435 mph; therefore, the trip took about 5 hours. Israir flight tickets between the two nations cost roughly $500. The airline Israir plans two to three flights per week.
Passengers from Tel Aviv landed in Marrakesh early Sunday afternoon on an Israir flight and were greeted with dates, pastries, and mint tea at a welcome ceremony held in their honor. Before departing from Israel, a joyful ceremony with Israeli and Moroccan flags was held.
Moroccan decorations were placed across Ben Gurion Airport in preparation for the event. As on the first jet connecting the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the word ‘peace’ could be read in Arabic, Hebrew, and English on the plane that subsequently arrived in Morocco. Some of the crew members also dressed up in authentic Moroccan costumes.
Several Israeli airlines stated a few weeks ago that they would begin service to Moroccan cities Marrakech and Casablanca on July 25. Tali Leibovitz, an Israir spokesperson, said two to three commercial flights were scheduled per week between the two cities, uniting the two lovely countries.
The new direct flights would “promote beneficial tourism, commercial and economic cooperation, and diplomatic agreements between the two nations,” according to Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov. Last year, together with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, Morocco was one of four regional states to agree to re-establish ties with Israel.
Despite the fact that this is a significant step forward in Tel Aviv-Rabat relations, this is not the first flight between the two cities. The decision to strengthen Israel-Morocco relations occurred after the Trump administration agreed to a normalization accord facilitated by the US, symbolizing the re-establishment of diplomatic ties. An El AL jet landed in Rabat for diplomacy on December 22, 2020, following the formalization of relations between Israel and Morocco.
Even though the two countries re-established diplomatic relations in December, airlines have been slow to launch flights. Border closures and travel restrictions are mostly to blame.
In general, the pandemic has had a negative influence on tourism in both Israel and Morocco. Following the worsening of the health issue last year, Israel imposed harsh travel restrictions. Morocco, on the other hand, receives up to 13 million visitors each year. Last year, however, the passenger slump resulted in a 53.8 percent drop in tourism earnings.
Morocco’s government estimates that the direct flights will draw 200,000 Israelis to the nation each year. Until recently, just about a fourth of that amount visited Morocco each year. Morocco is counting on the one million Israelis of Moroccan background to help revitalize the tourism economy, which has been hammered hard by the impact of the Coronavirus.
El AI Airlines from Israel also approached Morocco on the same day:
El Al aircraft LY553 departed Tel Aviv at 11:21 IDT and arrived at Marrakech’s Menara Airport at 15:31 WEST, according to RadarBox.com. Before nearing Morocco, the Boeing 787-9 flew over southern Italy. In December 2020, El Al launched the first direct flight between Tel Aviv and Rabat, transporting Israeli dignitaries. For the occasion, the airport lounges were adorned in a typical Moroccan style.
El Al has announced five weekly flights to Marrakech and Casablanca. According to an El Al statement, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said the service would increase “trade, tourism, and economic cooperation between the countries ‘ at a ceremony sending off the El Al flight, which Moroccan diplomat Abderrahim Beyyoudh accompanied.