First Etihad Airways flight between Israel and UAE
The first commercial flight from the United Arab Emirates capital city of Abu Dhabi to Israel landed in Tel Aviv, weeks after the signing of the Abraham Accords established formal relations between Israel and the UAE. The flight, Etihad Airways EY 9607, touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport, with a subsequent return flight to complete the round trip.
Etihad previously sent an unmarked cargo plane to Tel Aviv, flying aid to assist the Palestinians in fighting Covid-19. In August, a Star of David-adorned El Al plane flew from Israel to Abu Dhabi, carrying a high-ranking American and Israeli delegation in the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight between the two countries.
Israel and the UAE announced in August they had agreed to normalize ties, setting off a flurry of business, banking and intergovernmental agreements, along with an end to a longstanding boycott by the UAE against Israel. Bahrain also signed an agreement on September 15 at the White House alongside the UAE to normalize relations with Israel. The UAE and Bahrain are the third and fourth Arab states to establish ties with Israel. Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively.
Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, 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.”
Coinciding with the first commercial flight and in celebration of the recent peace accords between the UAE and Israel, Etihad has become the first non-Israeli airline in the Middle East to launch a dedicated website for the Israeli market in Hebrew. Also available in English, the Israeli version of the airline’s official website contains digital content including extensive information on Etihad’s operations, product, services, and network.
Picture by Sivag Farag