Australian and Israeli travellers are set to benefit from a new codeshare agreement between Qantas and EL AL, subject to government and regulatory approvals.

Customers of both airlines will be able to book on select flights operated by the other, as well as earn and redeem frequent flyer points.  The partnership focuses on linking Qantas’ flights between Australia and Asia to EL AL’s flights between Asia and Israel’s financial centre and technology hub, Tel Aviv.  It will also connect Qantas’ flights from Sydney to Johannesburg with EL AL’s services from Tel Aviv to the South African city.

Today, Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans and EL AL President and CEO David Maimon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deepen the relationship between the two carriers witnessed by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The MoU signing followed the Prime Ministers’ signing of a new Air Services Agreement between Australia and Israel.

Mr Evans said while Qantas and EL AL currently have an interline arrangement, the new codeshare was part of the Australian national carrier’s strategy to continually improve travel options for its customers by building long term partnerships with other airlines.

“We’re really pleased to be teaming up with EL AL and adding Tel Aviv to our network,” said Mr Evans.

“It’s a popular destination for the many Australians with family and friends in Israel, including a lot of Qantas frequent flyers who we know will welcome the option to book with us.

“The timing’s especially good when you think about the growing number of Australian companies doing business with Israel’s world-class technology and start-up sectors.”

Mr Maimon emphasised that the expansion of commercial ties between EL AL and Qantas is a natural fit for both airlines, benefiting customers.

“To have the national carriers of both Israel and Australia further enhance cooperation will strengthen the ties between our countries and provide a seamless mode of travel for our passengers.”

“Australia is a growing destination for Israelis, especially from the business and tourism segments and we are here to answer their needs,” added Mr Maimon.

Under the MoU signed today, Qantas plans to add its QF code to EL AL operated flights to three Qantas destinations – Hong Kong , Bangkok and Johannesburg – and Tel Aviv.

EL AL plans to add its code to Qantas services that operate between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hong Kong; between Sydney and Bangkok; and between Sydney and Johannesburg.

Reciprocal lounge access will be available for eligible customers of both airlines in Tel Aviv, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hong Kong. Eligible customers will also be able to access lounges available to Qantas customers in Bangkok and Johannesburg.

It is planned that the codeshare flights will go on sale during the second half of the calendar year.