United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, officially became the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel. The move aims to bring Israel’s top travel and tourism leaders to the UAE.
The first flight departed from Tel Aviv earlier this week via an Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and returned this past Wednesday. The respective three and a half hour flights were flown in partnership with the Maman Group.
As a travel trade mission, the flight 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 at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry.
The commercial flight is the latest development in a growing cooperation between Israel and the UAE. It follows the establishment of diplomatic ties and the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel which took place in September of last year in Washington D.C. It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi which took place last August.
“[The] 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 of Etihad Aviation Group.
Flights made between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi will also carry commercial cargo sourced from various locations across Etihad’s global network, in addition to commercial guests. This move is made with means to facilitate trade.
Also adding to the news is the creation of the first website marked in Hebrew to be launched by a non-Israeli airline in the Middle East. The dedicated website targets the Israeli market. This news is also in celebration of the recent peace accords between the UAE and Israel.
The Israeli version of the airline’s official website is available in English and contains digital content including extensive information on Etihad’s operations, product, services, and network. The site also includes an Abu Dhabi destination guide. The site can be viewed in Hebrew at www.etihad.com/he-il and in English at www.etihad.com/en-il.