Turkey Resumes Commercial Flights to Israel, After Months of Suspension

Twelve flights to run over course of week to accomodate Israeli Arabs taking their vacations in Anatalya on the occasion of the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha.

Turkish airlines renewed commercial flights from Israel to Anatalya on Sunday, after suspending them over the summer due to reduced demand.

A series of 12 flights will run this week from Israel to Turkey, intended for Israeli Arabs who vacationing in Turkey for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

Turkish airlines plane - AP

The first three Turkey-bound flights took off Sunday morning from Ben Gurion International Airport; another two flights will take off on Monday, and an additional flight will take off on Tuesday. The airline KTA International, which represents Turkish companies Onur, Corendon and Free Bird, is operating the flights.

“Yes, there is a demand for commercial flights in November to Anatalya," KTA CEO Shai Fredo told Haaretz. "We received a request from trip organizers from Arab communities in Israel to operate a few commercial flights this month to Anatolian vacation destinations, due to the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, and we will carry them out.”

According to Fredo, “We will consider carrying out commercial flights to Anatolia in the future, if the Israeli market shows a demand for it.”

Flights of Russian tourists, arriving via Anatalya for one day stays in Israel, were canceled in October. Those flights, part of Anatolia vacation packages, brought tourists to Israel for a day to visit holy places. They were carried out by Turkish air carriers Pegasus and Sky Airlines, who work directly with trip organizers in Russia.