Israel and Latvia have just inaugurated a direct air link between the two countries, as the result of the recent exchange of visits by President Moshe Katsav and Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and with the encouragement of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Tourism Ministry.

The initiative for the Tel Aviv-Riga route came from Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Eviatar Manor, who asked the Scandinavia airlines SAS to renew its flights to Israel, since there were no regular flights to the Scandinavian and Baltic countries.

The proposal picked up momemtum with Vike-Freiberga’s visit to Israel in February 2006. She was accompanied by Bertolt Flick, the general manager of AirBaltic, a subsidiary of SAS, who established contacts with the two Israeli ministries and the Airports Authority.

The twice-weekly Tel Aviv-Riga flights represent a further expansion of economic relations between Israel and the countries of Scandinavia and the Balkans, by facilitating the travel of businessmen and tourists.