Abu Dhabi's Etihad Starts Direct Passenger Flights to Israel

Flights on the new route, which connect two rapidly-vaccinating countries, will start at twice a week, and Etihad expects high demand

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
An Etihad Airways aircraft displays Israeli and Emirati flags after landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport, on the company's first scheduled commercial flight from Abu Dhabi.
An Etihad Airways aircraft displays Israeli and Emirati flags after landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport, on the company's first scheduled commercial flight from Abu Dhabi.Credit: JACK GUEZ / AFP

Abu Dhabi state carrier Etihad Airways began direct commercial passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates capital to Tel Aviv in Israel – the latest direct air link between the two countries that established diplomatic relations last year.

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja and Israel's head of mission to the UAE Eitan Na'eh were on the inaugural flight, as well as Etihad Group CEO Tony Douglas, who called the flight "the most significant moment in the history of Etihad."

"As our countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have much to look forward to in commercial, diplomatic, technological, health, and tourism exchanges," Khaja was quoted as saying by UAE state news agency WAM.

WAM said on Tuesday it had launched a news service in Hebrew, becoming the first Arab news agency to do so, with its reports focusing in part on bilateral relations between the UAE and Israel.

Etihad said it would initially offer two weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi. The three-hour, 20 minute flight will be operated on one of the company's flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It seats 290 passengers, with 28 business studio seats and 262 smart seats in economy class. The company expects a high demand for tickets from business people and tourists for the new route.

On Monday, the UAE placed Israel on its green list of countries, meaning visitors do not need to quarantine due to the coronavirus.

The Gulf Arab state has become a popular destinations for Israeli tourists even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt travel globally.

The UAE and Israel are among the countries with the world's fastest COVID-19 vaccination programs. Other UAE and Israeli airlines have launched direct flights.

The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain normalized ties with Israel last September as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott