Seven months after the two countries reached an agreement to re-establish relations, direct flights between Israel and Morocco commenced on Sunday.
With a ceremony marking the historic flights, El Al and Israir both launched their maiden flights to Marrakesh on Sunday.
Following the Abraham Accords, Israel and Morocco agreed to reestablish relations last December. Similar accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan preceded this one.
The first flight between the two countries, on December 22, carried an American and Israeli team led by Jared Kushner, then-White House senior adviser. The flights on Sunday marked the start of normal commercial air travel for customers.
Israir's flight took off from Israel at 8:15 a.m. on Sunday, with stewardesses dressed in authentic Moroccan attire and Moroccan cuisine provided on board. Rami Levy, the owner of the Rami Levy supermarket chain, was among the passengers.
Moroccan flags and carpets adorned the El Al flight, which took departure at 11:20 a.m.
"We continue to build infrastructure and create tourism anchors that will promote tourism to Israel when we defeat the coronavirus," Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov stated. "The Israel-Morocco airline is a significant and vital route that will aid in the promotion of tourism, trade, and economic and political cooperation between the two countries. All of this will add to the state's coffers and aid our fight against rising living costs."
Flights to Menara Airport in Marrakesh take about five and a half hours and cost $500 per person. El Al and Israir will each provide three weekly flights.
On August 3, Arkia will commence flights between Tel Aviv and Marrakesh, and Royal Air Maroc, Morocco's official airline, will follow suit later that month.
El Al and Israir are also slated to launch two weekly flights to Casablanca on August 10, giving each operator a total of five weekly round-trip flights to the country.
Many Israelis are excited to see what was once a significant Jewish center. Between 1948 and 1964, more than 300,000 Moroccan Jews emigrated to Israel, resulting in a population of 1 million Moroccan Israelis. In today's Morocco, there are an estimated 3,000 Jews.