Gulf Air, the national airline of Bahrain, and El Al Airlines, the flag carrier of Israel, are preparing to launch Bahrain (BAH) -Tel Aviv (TLV) route. The measure came after Bahrain and Israel signed a political agreement to normalize diplomatic relations among the countries.
On December 4, 2020 the Chairman of Board Directors at Gulf Air, and the Chairman of El Al Airlines, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) following which both parties would launch direct Bahrain - Tel Aviv flights. The leader of Gulf Air pointed out that the state-owned air carrier would begin operations from January 7, 2021. However, the new destination is still subject to the government's approval.
“We are delighted to announce the launch of our Bahrain – Tel Aviv route as part of the historic initiation of Bahraini – Israeli relations. As the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, we take great pride in supporting our leadership and Kingdom in their role of preserving peace and prosperity in the region,“ stated Zayed R. Alzayani, the Chairman of Board Directors at Gulf Air, in a press release.
Alzayani outlined the Gul Air hopes that the new direct route to Tel Aviv would promote the company’s traffic as well as provide commercial and social gains for Bahrain and Israel. According to Alzayani, “the path for numerous connections could be paved to the rest of our networks via the two destinations”.
Speaking about the possible benefits of the recently signed MoU, David Brodet, the Chairman of El Al Airlines said that the opportunity to get into cooperation with Gulf Air was a direct result of the amelioration of political relations between two countries. The recent agreement among Gulf Air and El Al had the potential to develop further discussions of joint codeshare operations between Manama and Tel Aviv as well as any other area that could benefit both air carriers and their customers, pointed out Brodet.
The MoU for the collaboration of two air carriers follows a recent political agreement between Bahrain and Israel that normalized diplomatic and other relations between the countries. The parties signed the settlement of the Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations back in September 2020.
On November 18, 2020, following a historic peace agreement, a Gulf Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner completed the first-ever flight between Bahrain and Israel while carrying several Bahrain's governmental officials to continue negotiations related to the recently signed document. With an aim to demonstrate openness and benevolence, the special Gulf Air flight was numbered as GF972 referring to Israel’s international telephone country code.