Palestine airlines are finally back to business in Jordan following seven years of being grounded. The carrier Palestine Airlines is a small operation which owns two 48 seat turboprop planes and currently schedules only two flights per week.
Palestine Airlines, which is wholly owned by the Palestinian Authority, was established in 1995 and started operations in June 1997 with the original intentions of operating from Gaza, but due to a complete ban from Israel they instead operated from Port Said, Egypt, although it did eventually transfer its base to Gaza in 1998.
The airline was, however, grounded at the start of the 2nd Intifada in 2000 and was forced to move it’s base to El-Arish Airport in Egypt following the destruction of the EU-funded airport in Gaza by Israel.
On Sunday, Palestinian Airlines carried 27 passengers on a flight that could have taken 35 minutes had it taken a direct route over Israel, but instead took twice that amount of time as it does not have permission to cross Israeli airspace.
Although the airline has started small, it is considered a matter of national Palestinian pride that it is once again air-bound.