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Israel's Haifa Airport resumes int'l flights after 4-yr hiatus
Israel's Haifa Airport resumes int'l flights after 4-yr hiatus

Jerusalem, June 23 : The Haifa Airport in northern Israel has resumed international flight operations after a four-year hiatus, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety said in a statement.

On Thursday, three flights of the Malta-based airline Universal Air carried passengers from the airport to Cyprus, two of them to the city of Larnaca and the other to Paphos, reports Xinhua news agency.

Most international flights to and from Israel take place at the central Ben Gurion Airport, alongside tourist flights to the southern Ramon Airport outside the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.

As the short runway at Haifa Airport, which is about 1,300 metres long, only allows the operation of small planes and short-haul flights that reach close destinations such as Cyprus and the Greek islands, the number of international flights decreased over the years until the service was suspended in 2019.

Plans to extend the runway have been considered several times in recent years, but they have proven difficult to carry out due to the many uses along the Mediterranean coastal strip of Haifa Bay, which is home to leading civilian seaports, an Israeli Navy seaport, a shipyard, and more, the Ministry explained.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel in early 2020 delayed a possible resumption of international flights at the airport.

Transport Minister Miri Regev said that connecting the north and the south to central Israel is a major strategic social and economic goal.

"There is no need for the residents of the north to have to drive to Ben Gurion Airport for every short vacation or business trip," she added.

Regev also called on other European airlines to operate direct routes to Haifa for the benefit of the residents of the north and for tourists wishing to visit the many tourist sites in the northern region.

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