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Israel-china Airline Plans on Track, but June 1 Startup Called Premature

March 13, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

El Al is confident that its projected service to China will do well. But reports that direct flights from Tel Aviv to Beijing will start on June 1 are “premature,” the airline said Thursday.

Agreements in principle have been reached with China Air, the Chinese air carrier, and with the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority, but “many details still have to be worked out” in the course of ongoing negotiations, El Al spokesman Nachman Kleiman said.

They include security arrangements for Israeli aircraft and passengers at Beijing airport and maintenance facilities in China.

“We have a delegation leaving for Beijing next week to handle operational problems, and a Chinese delegation is due in Israel some time next month,” Kleiman said.

China and Israel agreed on Jan. 24 to establish full diplomatic relations, which opened the way for aviation agreements.

Kleiman said the service to Beijing would begin with a weekly charter flight operated by an El Al Boeing 767 plane. Weekly flights to Tel Aviv by China Air would follow at a date still undecided.

“We believe there will be a considerable demand for such flights,” Kleiman said, noting that Israelis are adventurous tourists, always seeking new, exotic places to visit.

The route from Tel Aviv to Beijing will take the El Al planes over the territory of the former Soviet Union.

Flight time will be only 10 hours.

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