El Al jets
El Al jets Israel news photo: Flash 90

El Al and Turkish Atlasjet airlines have signed an agreement that will include daily flights between Israel and Istanbul, beginning in April. Flights from Israel to Turkey were stopped several years ago because of security concerns.

The two airliners signed a 'code sharing' agreement, which makes it possible for both to sell space on the same flights.

The signing ceremony took place at El Al headquarters in the presence of El Al Director Eliezer Shkedi; Atlasjet Director Murat Arzui and the Head of Turkey's Tourist Office in Israel, Inenj Ozchekmak.

"As Turkish friends of Israel we are excited about the cooperation and we hope that it will be an opening to the improvement of political ties between the countries,” Arzui said.

Shkedi, the former Commander of the Israel Air Force, said that the agreement “is an important opportunity” for El Al. Echoing Arzui's sentiments, he said: “We believe that the cooperation between El Al And Atlasjet is an important bridge and contribution to the good relations between the countries and the nations, and I hope that we will go back to seeing this in the near future.” 

Turkey's Tourism Ministry recently hired an Israel PR company to encourage Israelis to visit Turkey, after political tensions between the countries led to a boycott of Turkey by Israeli tourists. The same PR firm also represents El Al.