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USSR and Israel Sign Accord to Regularize Direct Flights

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Regular direct flights between Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport and several Soviet cities are to begin this fall, according to an announcement made Monday by the Ministry of Transportation.

An agreement signed here Monday by El Al and Aeroflot, the two countries’ national carriers, formalizes already existing, twice-weekly El Al charter flights between Tel Aviv and Moscow. In addition, El Al will begin weekly direct flights from Leningrad and Riga to Tel Aviv on Dec. 1.

Aeroflot will initiate weekly flights to Tel Aviv directly from Moscow, Riga, Leningrad, Tbilisi and an airport in the northern Caucasus. Aeroflot flights are already taking place from Kiev and another destination, according to El Al.

The flights in existence are for business-persons and tourists, not Soviets immigrating to Israel. Jewish immigrants bound for Israel must fly to an Eastern European capital, where they change planes for Tel Aviv.

Monday’s announcement followed meetings two weeks ago in the Soviet Union between Israeli Transport Minister Moshe Katsav and Boris Panyukov, the Soviet minister of civil aviation. The two transportation officials signed an agreement calling for expansion of air routes.

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