Just days after the announcement of a new diplomatic agreement with Morocco, Israel's airlines are preparing to enjoy open skies between the two countries with aviation officials saying that direct flights will start in three to six months.
The introduction of direct flights means that Israelis will now only face a five-hour flight to Morocco instead of 11-14 hours.
Flight prices will also be reduced with the airlines estimating that a ticket will cost about $400-500, although all previous tickets were only sold via organized trips.
The launch of the flights depends on the pace at which bilateral agreements, flight routes and visa arrangements are completed – and especially on the coronavirus infection rates in the two countries.
Morocco is now a "red" country with rising infection rates, and like Israel currently does not permit foreign nationals to enter its territory. Israel also requires a period of quarantine for all nationals returning from Morocco.
The hope is that morbidity will have declined in both Israel and Morocco by March or April, when flights are expected to begin.
Unlike the United Arab Emirates, Morocco has for years allowed Israeli tourists to enter its territory on a group visa (costing $50 per person) – in other words, only on organized trips.
Now Israelis expect the visa requirement to be abolished altogether and even if one is required in the interim, it will for the first time also be available to individual travelers.
Morocco has long been a favorite destination for Israeli groups, despite the lack of direct flights. Some 30,000 Israelis visit the country every year, and that is now expected to jump to about 150,000 per year.
Israel's main airlines - Arkia, El Al and Israir - are already planning to begin flights from Tel Aviv to Casablanca before Passover, and perhaps also to Marrakesh.
Israir says that a four-night vacation package (flight, hotel and shuttle) in Morocco will cost about $600, a six-night organized trip will cost about $800 per person, and a premium seven-night organized trip will cost about $1,500 per person.
The country of 37 million inhabitants is a popular global destination, with 17 million visitors in 2019.