Egypt-Israel Failure to Agree on Gaza Flights could Affect Jordan

Published July 3rd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A potential cutoff in flights between Egypt and the Gaza Strip could be matched by flight cancellations between the Jordanian capital and the Palestinian territory, Jordanian aviation officials said. 

"Amman-Gaza flights go through Egypt and if Egypt and Israel fail to resolve their differences, air traffic to Gaza will be suspended," the director of the Jordanian carrier Royal Wings told Al-Dustour newspaper on Sunday. 

A cutoff would "greatly affect" Royal Wings -- a sister company of the state-run Royal Jordanian Airlines -- because it depends heavily on flights to the Palestinian territories and Israel, said A'ahed Qintar. 

Egypt and Israel aviation authorities agreed Saturday to give themselves another month to negotiate an air agreement for flights between Cairo and the Gaza Strip which were threatened to be suspended over a dispute involving an air corridor. 

Israel, citing security reasons, wants flights from Egypt to use an air corridor 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of the Sinai city of El Arish while Egypt wants flights to use a corridor 48 kilometers (30 miles) north of El Arish. 

Likewise Israel is opposed to allowing direct flights between Amman and Gaza -- demanding instead that airplanes fly over the southern Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba and the Egyptian resort of Taba before heading for Gaza. 

Jordanian civil aviation director Jihad Rsheidat meanwhile told Al-Dustour that a direct route would mean shorter flights of around 25 minutes compared to 80-minute flights the long way. 

He said contacts were underway between Israel and Jordan to reach an accord on the direct route. 

Gaza Airport, which opened in 1998, is controlled by Israeli security services under agreement terms between the Palestinians and Israel -- AMMAN (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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