Beginning next month, visitors to Aqaba will not have to pass through the Yitzhak Rabin border terminal near Eilat, but will be able to travel to the southern Jordanian city with Arkia vacation packages.
The airline will operate flights on Fridays and Mondays, which will leave from Haifa and Ben-Gurion Airport on board ATR model planes. The packages will include three-night weekends and four nights during weekdays.
If demand grows, the airline will consider operating additional flights on Saturdays as part of a week-long package. Yedioth Ahronoth's financial supplement Mamon reported that Arkia has already signed contracts with a number of hotels in Aqaba, including four and five-star deluxe accommodations.
Arkia's decision to operate flights to Aqaba was made following increasing competition with El Al, which is slated to begin operating flights to Eilat. In addition, it is part of Arkia's policy to offer its customers attractive new destinations.
Vacation-packages will cost $299 (about NIS 1,100) for a three-night weekend, Including return flights and bed and breakfast in a four-star hotel. Luxury hotels such as Kempinski, intercontinental, Mövenpick and Radisson will cost around $499 (NIS 1,840).
The prices will be valid during travel in May and June, and will rise in the summer according to demand. Arkia is the only Israeli airline that flies to Jordan's capital Amman, and operates three weekly flights with high occupancy.
Aqaba was crowned by many in the Arab world as the capital of Arab tourism. Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested into the construction of luxury hotels, resorts and Gourmet restaurants throughout the city.
The airline will offer its passengers duty-free items during the flights, and visitors will be able to visit duty-free shops at the Aqaba airport on their way back to Israel.
Arkia CEO Gadi Tepper confirmed the company's plans to operate flights to Aqaba as part of holiday package deals, and said it was waiting for final permits before it begins marketing the new service.
The National Security Council issued a travel-warning on travel to Jordan due to a concrete threat.
Mammon magazine reported that the airline is counting mainly on Arab Israelis to use its services to Aqaba, as they often travel to Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.