The national airline of Israel, El Al, will commence daily flights to Dubai in just under three weeks. This latest development follows Israel’s flagship airline signing an agreement of cooperation with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airlines. This latest development in the new relationship between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates follows an Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement signed by both parties in September.
Under what is being called the “Abraham Accords Peace Agreement,” both sides have agreed to exchange diplomatic missions and allow for trade and tourism. Following the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, the Gulf state’s ally Bahrain also agreed to diplomatic ties with Israel. Both nations’ move follows a warming of relations in general brought on in part over concerns of Iranian policies in the region.
El Al will offer 14 flights per week
The peace treaty’s signing has quickly led to many air travel arrangements between the two countries and to Saudi Arabia opening up its air space to Tel Aviv-Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Manama flights. With Israel and the UAE not requiring their citizens to have visas, many Israelis have already traveled to the UAE for tourism.
Initially, El Al plans to offer 14 flights a week between Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (TEL) and Dubai International Airport (DXB) starting on 13 December. Fellow Israeli airlines Arkia and Israir have also talked about plans to begin flights to the UAE starting ￼next month but neither has released any concrete details. One of the flights being proposed is a direct link between the UAE and the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat.
Saudi Arabia agreed to overflights
Following the accord, it did not take long for state-owned Etihad Airways and Israels El Al to sign a memorandum of understanding calling for further cooperation on shared flights and cargo. Dubai International Airport (DXB)-based low-cost carrier flydubai announced in a press release that it would operate twice-daily flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv from 26 November 2020.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways will do the same starting in 2021 and has said the flights will be times to allow Israelis to connect with Etihad Airways flights to Asia and Australia. Currently when traveling to the Far East and Asia Israelis fly on Turkish Airlines flights operating out of Istanbul Airport (IST).
El Al has been hit hard by COVID-19
￼￼Like many other airlines globally, El Al has been hit hard by the current COVID-19 global￼ pandemic and had to rely on a government bailout in July. Let’s hope that the new Israel-gulf routes work out well for all parties and that other non-aligned Arab states can see the benefits of having diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.
Do you plan on flying with El Al to the UAE or the other way around? if so please tell us what you are looking forward to the most in the comments.