TEL AVIV (Jun. 19)
Aeroflot has agreed in principle to operate direct air service from the Soviet Union to Israel.
The Soviet airline advised E1 A1 Israel Airlines that it has agreed to the flights, subject to approval on the political level. Aeroflot and E1 A1 are the national airlines of their respective countries.
If the agreement goes through, the first stage apparently would be charter flights from Moscow to Ben-Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv.
Israel has been seeking for years to channel Jews who leave the Soviet Union with Israeli visas directly to Israel. But there has been no direct air link since the Soviets severed diplomatic relations with Isracl in 1967.
Moscow-Tel Aviv flights could eliminate the transit stopover in Vienna, where about 90 percent of the emigres opt to settle in the United States or other Western countries instead of Israel.
The Israelis call them “drop-outs” and hope direct flights will reduce the phenomenon.