Next year in Egypt? Israeli airline seeks flight path to Sharm el-Sheikh

Egyptian officials have now launched a campaign to rebrand Sharm el-Sheikh as a safe tourist destination.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

While Israelis’ travel options for this Passover holiday are mostly limited to local hotels, it seems that next year might bring a brand new destination that’s just an hour away by air.

Israeli airline Israir requested permission this week to operate two daily flights to Sharm El Sheikh, a Red City coastal resort town known for its beaches, coral reefs, and diving.

The request comes just two weeks after an early March delegation of Israeli government officials and businessmen, including supermarket magnate Rami Levy, who is the majority stakeholder in Israir, visited Egypt.

During the meetings, Egyptian officials reportedly told their Israeli counterparts that Sharm el-Sheikh’s reputation as a dangerous destination can be left in the past, as there is now a 36-kilometer concrete barrier around the resort.

The site was once a popular holiday getaway for Israeli and European tourists alike, but its appeal faded after 2005 bombings killed dozens. In 2015, a Russian passenger plane crashed after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh.

While the Egyptian government blamed the crash on a technical malfunction, it’s widely believed that the plane was brought down by terrorists.

Egyptian officials have now launched a campaign to rebrand Sharm el-Sheikh as a safe tourist destination.

Dismissing concerns about Islamic terrorists operating in the Sinai desert, an Egyptian government official recently told local reporters that the newly constructed fence and high security would ensure that foreign tourists are secure in the region.

“There is great security with Egypt’s Second Army securing the North Sinai, and the Third Army securing South Sinai,” South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda told Arab News in February 2021.

“They will be searched, security cameras will identify them, vehicles will go through a scan, so that when they arrive in the city, it’ll be after a full search operation.”

Israir’s VP of Marketing Gil Stav said in a statement, “Sharm el-Sheikh could now become an international tourist destination, attracting an Israeli audience. It’s a destination that could offer a vacation abroad even now, when the range of international vacation destinations is much more limited.”