Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways announced today that it would launch daily scheduled flights to Israel’s primary city Tel Aviv. Flights between the Gulf state and Israel represent more than just a symbol of peace between them. These daily flights and the new relationship between the oil producer and the Jewish homeland will present plenty of business opportunities for both nations.
Along with trade, allowing Israelis access to Etihad’s global network will be huge. Before the Abu Dhabi flight was announced, most Israelis connected globally through Turkish Airlines’ central hub at Istanbul Airport (IST). The new daily flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) follows a normalization of diplomatic ties between the two counties.
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Representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Israel met in Washington D.C. to sign what is being called the ‘Abraham Accords’ on September 15. Following the agreement, Etihad became the first Gulf state carrier to fly to Israel a month later. When speaking about the new Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv flight, Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said,
“Following the signing of the new bilateral agreement, Etihad is delighted to announce a direct link between these important cities.
“The commencement of scheduled flights is a historical moment and as an airline, cements Etihad’s commitment to growing opportunities for trade and tourism not just between the two countries but also within the region and beyond.”
Daily Etihad flights begin next spring
The new service between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv will commence on March 28, 2021, and will promote Israel as a tourist destination for Emiratis and UAE residents. Israel has an abundance of historical sites, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant nightlife that will appeal to visitors from the Gulf.
The flights will also be timed to allow Israeli citizens and residents to connect with other Etihad flights to Australia, China, India, and Thailand. According to the Etihad Airways reservations system, the Gulf carrier will put one of its ten Airbus A321-200s on the new route.
Other Gulf carriers will offer flights to Israel
State-owned low-cost carrier flydubai, which is loosely linked with Emirates, announced that it would start offering flights between Dubia and TelAviv towards the end of November. In reverse, Israeli package holiday airline, Israir said it would begin selling vacations with onward transport to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Israir is also offering package holidays to the Kingdom of Bahrain following the normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and the island state.
While it has not been mentioned as a destination yet, I think we can expect to see flights from Israir between the Gulf and the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat near Jordan. In Eilat, Gulf state nationals and residents will be able to take advantage of world-class diving and make day trips to the archaeological city of Petra in Jordan.
The new flights between Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Bahrain to Isreal certainly open up many possibilities and further enhance peach in the region.
Do you think the new flights will be a success? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.