(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) At his office in Ramallah, captain Zeyad al-Badda, director of the Palestinian Airlines "al- Falastinia" runs coordination of flights with officials at the airports of al-Arish in the Egyptian Peninsula of Sinai and Marka Airport in Jordan for Palestinian passengers.
After seven years of being inoperative, al-Falastinia Airlines resumed flights at the two airports in Egypt and Jordan two weeks ago. The company has temporarily leased the two places. Israel destroyed Gaza airport right after the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada or uprising in September, 2000.
"We resumed our air flights on May 9," said al-Badda, whose company completely stopped in 2005 due to financial difficulties. He noted that this would ease travelling for the Gaza population who no longer has to drive 500 km to Cairo.
Al-Badda said the al-Falastinia airlines also help the Palestinian passengers save money, adding that right now there are two flights per week, but the company plans to increase the flights to five per week following contacts with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
He has been working as the director general of the Palestinian Airlines since 2009. He has a team of 100 people, including pilots, engineers, hostesses, technicians and workers. Al-Falastinia was founded in 1995 and began its work in 1997.
Al-Badda said the Palestinian company which used to sent dozens of flights to various Arab and foreign countries "doesn't aim to earn profits at the beginning, all what we want is to be seen on the map of the world's airlines and manifest our sovereignty."
According to agreements recently signed with Egypt and Jordan, the flights are only for Palestinian passengers, said al-Badda.
"Our airlines right now are working in a good way, and most of our customers are Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, who don't have an airport and face difficulties in leaving the enclave. They usually call by phone and make their flights reservations," said al-Badda. The airlines now owns two Fokker 50 airbus.
For each flight, the company pays 1,700 U.S. dollars for using the Egyptian airport of al-Arish and 500 dollars for using Marka airport in Jordan. Each roundtrip flight from al-Arish airport in Egypt to Marka airport in Jordan costs the passenger 220 U.S. dollars.
"The company's revenues may not able to cover its expenses, but keeping the company working is so important as it shows the world the Palestinians deserve an independent state," al-Badda said.
Meanwhile, Al-Badda said that the Palestinian airlines company looks forward to the rebuilding of the Gaza airport. "The Palestinians have the right to have their owns airlines and airport.