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Etihad starts scheduled flights to Israel

Web Report/Dubai
Filed on April 6, 2021
(From left): Eitan Nae’eh, Israel’s Head of Mission to the UAE; Mohamed Al Khaja, UAE’s first Ambassador to Israel; and Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Airways, with the national carrier’s cabin crew at the start of the scheduled flights to Israel on Tuesday. Supplied Photo

Abu Dhabi carrier to operate two weekly flights to Tel Aviv.

Etihad Airways on Tuesday launched its regular flight service between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, a day after the UAE capital added Israel to its “green list’.

A ‘green list’ signifies quarantine-free travel for visitors arriving in Abu Dhabi, despite the prevailing Covid-19 challenges.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways (flight no EY598), the first scheduled flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, took off on Tuesday morning, carrying Mohamed Al-Khaja, UAE’s first Ambassador to Israel, Eitan Nae’eh, Israel’s Head of Mission to the UAE, and Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Etihad Airways.

The flight landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday afternoon and was received with the traditional water cannon salute and a welcome speech by Shmuel Zakay, CEO, Ben Gurion International Airport.

The launch of scheduled operations comes as the next historic step in developing diplomatic, trade, and tourism ties between Israel and the UAE, which were signed as part of the Abraham Accords in Washington D.C. on September 15, 2020.

“Today is a hugely significant moment in Etihad’s history, as we operate our first scheduled commercial flight into Tel Aviv… On our inaugural flight today, we were delighted to welcome representatives from some of the UAE’s finest tourism and hospitality operators. These business leaders will not only showcase Abu Dhabi as a world-leading tourism destination, but also reinforce the emirate’s robust and united response towards wellness,” said Douglas.

Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv route will be operated by one of Etihad’s flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with 290 seats – 28 Business studios and 262 Economy smart seats.

Etihad will initially offer two weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.

There is significant travel demand anticipated between Israel and the UAE and beyond, for both business and leisure travel purposes. This is bolstered by the fact that Israel and the UAE boast two of the highest vaccination rates in the world, giving potential for a vaccine corridor to further ease travel between the two destinations, a statement from the carrier said.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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