Israel has launched flights allowing Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to fly abroad from an airport in the Negev region in Southern Isreal.
The first flight, which had a tourist group from the West Bank consisting of doctors, pharmacists, and their families, took off on Monday from Ramon Airport to Larnaca Airport in Cyprus.
Ghassan Olyan, the Israeli government’s activities coordinator in the Palestinian territories, said that the Palestinian’s travel from the West Bank through an Israeli airport “is historic and unprecedented. It was a dream and became a reality.”
However, the launch of the Palestinian tourist flight service from the West Bank to Turkey has been delayed because of unfinished preparations, which are underway to operate two weekly flights from Ramon Airport to Istanbul and Antalya. It is expected that flights to the two Turkish cities be launched next month, and services to Dubai and Sharm El-Sheikh may begin gradually.
Israel opened Ramon Airport, which is regarded as the second largest Israeli airport after Ben Gurion, in 2019 for $500 million. However, Israelis do not prefer to travel through Ramon Airport due to its proximity to Jerusalem.
Over 1 million Palestinians travel to Jordan every year, most of whom stop to visit relatives or finish business in Jordan. Others come to Jordan while returning from other countries.