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Gulf Air and El Al sign accord; direct flights Bahrain-Tel Aviv to start in January

Gulf Air

Bahrain’s Gulf Air and EL AL Airlines begin  collaboration following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday.

Gulf Air will start direct flights to Tel Aviv on January 7. That flight covers a distance of 1,030 miles in each direction.

The flight time is at about two hours and 30 minutes, and that short travel time is possible because the Israeli flights will be able to traverse Saudi Arabian airspace for the first time.

The carrier will offer two weekly flights, subject to government approval.

The move came during during an official visit from the kingdom of Bahrain to the state of Israel.

The memorandum was signed at the Hilton Tel Aviv by the Gulf Air chairman, Zayed Alzayani, and the chairman of EL AL, David Brodet.

With this MOU, the airlines will discuss potential joint codeshare operations between the two countries, as well as on the global networks beyond the two carriers’ hubs.

Observers expect the two airlines to agree to similar terms as those in the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Tel Aviv-based EL AL accord for cooperation in several different areas. They have agreed to a joint codeshare services between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, as well as points around the globe beyond that plans to offer reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities, as well as other frequent flyer benefits.

There is also cooperation between Etihad and EL AL in the fields of engineering, cargo services, destination management (to encourage mutual tourism), and optimal use of pilot and cabin crew training facilities.

The airlines are also planning further commercial cooperation in the areas of loyalty, cargo, engineering, and travel technology. That would mean loyalty miles earned on Etihad would be valid on EL AL, and vice-versa.

The signing and announcement of the new route follow the recent development of closer diplomatic ties between Bahrain and Israel.

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