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Palestinian Airlines Resumes Operations

The Palestinian Airlines, which had been suspended for seven years, has resumed operations with flights between Egypt’s El-Arish and Amman.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/10/2012, 7:37 PM

Airplane
Airplane
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

The Palestinian Airlines, which had been suspended for seven years, has resumed operations with flights between Egypt’s El-Arish and Amman, its director general told AFP on Thursday.

The renewal of operations was facilitated by an agreement reached between the Palestinian Transportation Ministry and the authorities in Egypt and Jordan.

The airline was forced to shut down after an onslaught of Arab terrorism during second Intifada caused Israel to retaliate, damaging the roadways.

“We started yesterday from Amman to El-Arish and from El-Arish to Amman,” Palestinian Airlines director general Zeyad Albad said. “We are going to have flights from El-Arish to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) soon too, and we are trying to set up some new routes to Turkey and the (United Arab) Emirates.”

Albad said the resumption of flights was intended to make life easier for ‘Palestinians’ travelling from Gaza through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Reflecting on the resumption of flights as a positive development for the airline, he said, “It’s for our benefit too. Now we are flying our two Fokkers, which carry 60 people and are good for the flight to Amman.”

Founded in 1995, Palestinian Airlines once took passengers from Gaza’s Yasser Arafat International Airport to various destinations in the Middle East.

Albad said in early 2011 that the airline, which was established in 1994 and is owned entirely by the Palestinian Authority, was heavily in debt.

For now the airline will operate two flights a week between Amman and El Arish.