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Abraham Accords: Etihad Airways begins its Israel operation

October 20, 2020

Both the countries agreed to normalise ties in August and a US-brokered Abraham Accords was signed on September 15.

Etihad Airways has commenced operations to Israel with their first flight landing in Tel Aviv on Monday morning.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv just after 7am to a warm welcome. The airline flew back to Abu Dhabi carrying an Israeli travel and tourism delegation, cementing yet another milestone in the UAE-Israeli ties. The return journey will depart Abu Dhabi on October 21.

Both the countries agreed to normalise ties in August and a US-brokered Abraham Accords was signed on September 15.

In a statement on Monday, Etihad said the flight is a 'travel trade mission' that will bring a group of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision makers, travel agents, and cargo agents, along with media to experience Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE.

Israeli national airline El Al flew its first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on August 31 carrying a high-ranking American and Israeli delegation in the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight between the two countries.

Etihad previously sent to Tel Aviv an unmarked cargo plane flying aid to assist the Palestinians in fighting Covid-19.

Tickets between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv are not yet available online but are expected to be launched within weeks.

Israel and the UAE will sign a deal today to allow 28 weekly commercial flights between Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Israel's Transportation Ministry said on Sunday.

The agreement also allows unlimited charter flights to a smaller airport in southern Israel and 10 weekly cargo flights.

The aviation deal will be signed at Ben Gurion Airport and flights are expected to begin within weeks, the ministry said.

'Today's flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the UAE, and in Israel, and Etihad as the national airline, is delighted to be leading the way. We are just starting to explore the long-term potential of these newly forged relationships, which will be sure to greatly benefit the economies of both nations, particularly in the areas of trade and tourism, and ultimately the people who call this diverse and wonderful region home,' said Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group.

As an important facilitator of trade, the flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi will also carry commercial cargo sourced from, and destined for, points across Etihad's global network, in addition to commercial guests.

Etihad said it has also launched a website in Hebrew.


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