Moroccan carrier launches Israel flights after COVID delay

First direct flights delayed by three months due to the pandemic, expected four times per week between Casablanca and Tel Aviv while kingdom expects 200,000 Israeli tourists to visit
Royal Air Maroc took off from Morocco's economic capital Casablanca bound for Tel Aviv on Sunday, in the carrier's first direct flight to Tel Aviv, since the two countries normalized ties in 2020.
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  • Aviation sources and local media sources said a Moroccan business delegation was on the inaugural flight, delayed by three months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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    Poster advertising Air Maroc flights to Israel
    Poster advertising Air Maroc flights to Israel
    Poster advertising Air Maroc flights to Israel
    (Photo: AFP)
    "Casablanca/Tel Aviv for 400 euros ($440). Who would have believed it?" tweeted David Govrin, head of Israel's liaison office in the Arab state.
    Israel and Morocco restored their relations under the 2020 US-backed Abraham Accords normalizing ties between the Jewish state and several Arab countries.
    Their relations were strengthened by the visits of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in recent months.
    An aviation agreement between the countries was singed last December outlining reciprocal travel between the two nations.
    The Moroccan carrier RAM is to fly four times a week between Casablanca and Tel Aviv, while Israeli airlines launched flights to Morocco's Marrakesh last July, although they were suspended in late November because of coronavirus travel curbs.
    Morocco is counting on 200,000 visitors from Israel, many of whose 700,000-strong Jewish community of Moroccan origins have retained close cultural links.
    Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, spoke of the special relations, saying: "Morocco has an important history with its Jewish community, unique to the Arab world." Nasser Bourita said
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