Talks have begun between the Israel Airports Authority and Thai Airways to possibly create a new direct route between Ben Gurion International and Bangkok.
At the same time, Israeli airline Arkia is looking into creating a direct flight between Israel and Thailand as well.
These developments are due to an "open skies" agreement signed between Israel and Thailand. This agreement enables airlines, such as Arkia and Thai Airways, to have more direct flights, thereby increasing competition and reducing prices.
El Al currently holds the monopoly on the route. The Israeli national carrier also has a codeshare agreement with Thai Airways.
The open skies agreement itself was signed in Bangkok following lengthy negotiations. According to the agreement, each country will be able to fly up to 28 flights a week on the route, using any plane they choose. This will increase the number of flights, up from the eight a week which El Al currently flies.
The agreement will also enable commercial partnerships between the both countries' airlines, such as codeshare agreements.
Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for Israeli travelers, with over 165,000 Israelis travelling to Thailand in 2016 alone. Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz says that the open skies agreement will increase the number of people travelling between the two countries, and will lead in a reduction in prices.
Arkia CEO Nir Dagan said "the Israeli Civilian Airports Authority and the Israeli Ministry of Transportation did excellent work. We've been trying to make changes to the original agreement (between the two countries) and now it has happened. Following this agreement, we are now in the initial stages of planning flights to Thailand. We want to be able to have flights not only to Bangkok, but to the popular tourist islands as well."