Kristine L Ming

Israeli flag at Boston airport marks direct Tel Aviv flights

Logan International Airport paraded the Israeli flag together with the American one on Sunday night to mark the departure of the first direct, Tel-Aviv bound flight out of Boston in close to 30 years.

“If there is something that Bostonians do not like to do is to connect through JFK [Airport in New York],” joked Uri Steinberg of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in reference to the historic rivalry between Bean Town and the Big Apple.

He spoke at a special reception to honor the launch by Israel’s national carrier El Al of its new non-stop line, its fourth to North America, along with Los Angeles, Toronto, and the New York – New Jersey area.

Before Sunday, Massachusetts residents who wanted to fly to Israel had to travel first to New York, which unnecessarily prolonged what was already an almost 12-hour trip.

Some “67,000 people flew last year between Boston and Tel Aviv, that is a healthy volume,” said Massachusetts Port Authority CEO Thomas Glynn.

This will make a difference for those travelers, he said.

Half of the traffic is tourism and the other is the growing business ties, Glynn told The Jerusalem Post.

“There are 200 companies that have facilities in both Massachusetts and Israel,” Glynn said.

“There has been a lot of affirmative efforts by Massachusetts to increase trade with Israel,” state Transportation Secretary Staphanie Pollack added.

The new Boston-Tel Aviv route, like the Tel Aviv-Boston line, will have three weekly flights. Israel is the 46th country which has direct service with Boston.

To mark those relationships, Logan International Airport hangs the flag of each country from the ceiling of its international terminal. On Sunday night, the Israeli flag was hoisted onto the ceiling and will now permanently hang there.

Speaking on behalf of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Pollack told the several hundred people who came to celebrate the event, “Massachusetts stands by Israel.”

She paused for the applause and then added, “That is how we feel about Israel.”

“Non-stop service will be a huge benefit for Massachusetts companies doing business in Israel, as well as for Israeli companies doing business in Massachusetts,” Pollack said.

“It brings an opportunity for universities in Massachusetts and in Israel to collaborate more, [to] come closer together and exchange students and faculty and researchers,” Pollack said.

She added that it is also an opportunity for increasing tourism traffic both for Israel and New England.

“Through your business, workplace, universities, synagogues and churches, encourage your friends and your co-workers and your neighbors to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Help bring Massachusetts and Israel closer together,” she said.

El Al CEO David Maimon said that the departure of the Tel Aviv bound flight “is a historic moment for El Al,” but the three flights a week in both directions are “only an appetizer,” Maimon said.

“I hope that we will soon increase the frequency from three weekly flights to four and even five,” he said.

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-flag-at-Boston-airport-marks-direct-Tel-Aviv-flights-407555

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