Emirates is expected to launch flights to Tel Aviv next month, according to Israeli newspaper Globes. The airline previously showed its interest in the route by launching a Kosher flight catering facility in the United Arab Emirates for such flights.
While a lot of bad happened in 2020, there was also some good in aviation. One of these stories saw the United Arab Emirates and Israel establish diplomatic ties, leading to the creation of an air corridor between the two countries. This was accompanied by overflight rights granted by Saudi Arabia, allowing such flights to be much more direct.
Emirates eyes Tel Aviv
Many airlines have been keen to use the new route between Tel Aviv and the United Arab Emirates. Indeed, Emirates passengers have already been able to fly to and from Tel Aviv since November 26th through a codeshare agreement with flydubai.
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It seems as though the airline has bigger aspirations, though. According to the Israeli newspaper Globes, Emirates has applied to the Israel Airports Authority for permission for take-off and landing slots at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport from February 15th.
A busy flight corridor
Despite the global pandemic, the flight corridor between Tel Aviv and Dubai has already taken off. Arkia Airlines, Israir, Israeli flag carrier El Al and flydubai have all been operating flights on the route. The first flight with passengers between the two countries was undertaken by an El Al 737 back in August, with flydubai becoming the first to carry tourists on the route back in November.
As well as facing direct competition on the route from Dubai to Tel Aviv, Emirates will also see competition from its neighbor and competitor Etihad. The Emirates rival is set to commence flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv on March 28th.
Saudi Arabia overflights bring flight times down
Earlier in 2020, Etihad became the first airline to fly between the UAE and Israel. The airline operated two non-stop flights between the two carrying aid such as PPE and ventilators bound for the region. This signaled that relations between the two countries might be thawing.
However, when Etihad operated these flights, it had to fly up through Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. It then skirted around Syria in Turkish airspace before flying down to Tel Aviv past Cyprus and over the Mediterranean. This added a significant time burden on the journey.
In September, Saudi Arabia announced that it would give flights traveling on the route from Tel Aviv to the UAE permission to use its airspace. According to Google Flights, this significantly cut the flight time, with the average scheduled time sitting around three hours and 15 minutes.
While carriers are currently serving the route using narrowbody aircraft, Emirates would be forced to use a Boeing 777 or Airbus A380 given its current fleet. One would expect it to use the former, given the A380’s currently limited role at the airline.
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