Shrouded In Mystery!
There are some aircraft that have been carrying passengers from one country to another, for nearly four decades. However, no one notices the movement of those aircraft! In this manner, non-existent aircraft have been flying between Cairo and Tel Aviv for 39 years. The US had encouraged Israel and Egypt to sign a Peace Agreement in 1979, and one of the conditions of the accord was to start flight services between the two countries.
In 1982, Egypt founded Air Sinai, an airline based in Cairo, which operates as an airline on paper for parent company EgyptAir under a wet lease-like agreement to serve flights exclusively between Cairo and Tel Aviv. Aircraft were previously operated on this route by Nefertiti Aviation of EgyptAir. However, Egypt started facing tremendous diplomatic pressure after signing the Peace Deal with Israel and the subsequent flight services between the two countries. The Arab Nations snapped ties with Cairo in the early 1990s.
The Egyptians, too, had strongly criticised their Government for signing the Peace Accord with Israel. The regional and internal pressure prompted Cairo to make an unprecedented decision. It stopped operating flights on this route. On the other hand, the concerned authorities in Egypt had to keep in mind the terms of the Peace Agreement. Hence, Cairo started flying aircraft on this route in a covert fashion.
As mentioned earlier, the Government of Egypt founded Air Sinai in 1982. Air Sinai resumed the flight services between Cairo and Tel Aviv with EgyptAir pilots, aircraft, and flight attendants. The Government also disabled the use of logos on aircraft to maintain confidentiality. This organisation did not even have a website! Hence, passengers were unable to purchase tickets online. They could not find any website of Air Sinai to book tickets for a direct Cairo-Tel Aviv flight. Hence, passengers, who used to purchase tickets online, had to travel from Cairo to Tel Aviv via other cities.
However, links surfaced on the Internet for those who were interested in booking Air Sinai tickets. They used to get the email-ids and contact numbers of travel agencies by clicking on those links. Commuters had to send their details to those email-ids or by contacting travel agents through those numbers. After considering everything, Air Sinai officials informed passengers about the time, date and airfare of the flight via email. Passengers had to pay the fare in cash, as the use of credit or debit cards was not allowed to maintain confidentiality. There was also an uncertainty among the passengers because of this secrecy, as they could not be ascertained whether they had paid the money to the right person, until the take-off.
To serve passengers in a better way, a website – flyairsinai.com – was launched in 2020. This website provides passengers with all important information, like departure and arrival times, ticket prices, etc., about direct Air Sinai flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv. Passengers can easily book tickets from this website. It may be noted that flyairsinai.com is not a direct Air Sinai website. A third party travel agency created this website for the convenience of passengers. The non-existent aircraft still carry passengers from Cairo to Tel Aviv and vice versa on a daily basis.
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