It could be a hint about how Turkish Airlines feels toward Israel, or it could be completely unrelated.
But the carrier’s decision to solve its pilot shortage by hiring 200 Iranian pilots sounds like the latest step in the ongoing deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel.
The change should pose no security threat, since the pilots are unlikely to be put on Israel-bound flights, but are expected to be flying some connection flights.
Turkish Airlines also announced cancellation of two of the 7-8 daily flights it had been operating between Tel Aviv and Istanbul between August 18 and the end of October for what it termed “operational reasons.”
The Airlines is the biggest foreign carrier operating out of Ben Gurion Airport, with many travelers using Istanbul for connecting flights to other destinations.
Cut-rate Hungarian airline Wizz Air also announced a reduction of Tel Aviv flights. The airline is cancelling its routes from Tel Aviv to Prague, Katowice and Warsaw. These flights were reportedly suffering operational losses since the start of Operation Protective Edge. However, Wizz Air will continue flying to Budapest in Hungary, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca in Romania, Vilnius in Lithuania, and Sofia, Bulgaria as usual though there may be reductions.