The first flight of the Xi'an-Istanbul direct air route arrives at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Dec. 30, 2019. Three round trips operated by Turkish Airlines are expected to be made between Xi'an and Istanbul, with inbound flights on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and outbound ones on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. (Xinhua/Shao Rui)

Israel’s leading airline El Al announced on Thursday the gradual resumption of international flights.

The airline stopped its regular flights in late March, about a month after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel, and has since postponed the resumption of flights several times.

Now, the company has announced that it prepares for a gradual resumption of passenger flights starting Oct. 1, and of cargo flights starting Sept. 21.

At first, a limited number of passenger flights to the United States and to Europe will be operated, as well as cargo flights to the Far East.

On Aug. 16, Israel began to gradually open its skies to international flights as part of easing the strict restrictions imposed for months to curb the spread of the pandemic.

On Friday, Israel will re-impose a full nationwide closure, due to the recent spike in morbidity. However, Ben Gurion international airport near the coastal city of Tel Aviv will remain open, with scheduled flights not being canceled.

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