A second Etihad flight is currently en route to Israel carrying aid bound for Palestine. However, questions over the shipment have been raised, as the first aid delivery was rejected. Palestine has said that it is not aware of the incoming shipment.
In May, Ethiad made history when it became the first airline from the United Arab Emirates to fly to Israel. The Airbus A330 was carrying 14 tonnes of medical aid destined for Palestine. This included personal protective equipment and respirators. The UAE has no diplomatic relations with Israel, making the one-off flight exceptional. However, now a second flight is en route.
Boeing 787-9 aid flight
An Etihad Boeing 787-9 aircraft registered as A6-BNA is currently en-route from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv. The plane departed at 17:57 local time. However, because of the political situation between Israel and many Middle East countries, the aircraft has taken a less than direct route.
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At the time of writing, having left the UAE, the aircraft flew up through the Persian Gulf, then above Kuwait and through Iraq to Turkey. It then continued around the top of Syria, and down over Cyrpus, before it will arrive in Tel Aviv later today.
Could the aid be rejected?
According to Reuters, Etihad’s first shipment of aid was rejected by Palestine. The reason was that the previous delivery had not been coordinated with the country. It was not immediately clear what happened the 14 tonnes of aid that has already been delivered to Israel.
The publication further reports that the Palestinian Prime Minister today said that he was unaware of this second aid shipment. As this was the reason that Palestine rejected the previous load, some have raised concerns that today’s delivery could experience a similar outcome.
While we know that the previous shipment of aid contained 14 tonnes of medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protective equipment, it is unclear what then contents of the latest shipment include, or how much is being shipped. According to All Nippon Airways, The Boeing 787-9 can carry just over 60 tonnes in its belly cargo area.
What does Etihad say?
Simple Flying reached out to Etihad regarding the latest shipment. An Etihad spokesperson told us:
Etihad Airways continues to operate humanitarian flights providing much-needed aid to nations within its network and beyond. Selected Etihad passenger aircraft are being used for belly-cargo only to deliver commercial freight and other supplies.Etihad Airways operated a dedicated humanitarian cargo flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv on 19 May to transport medical supplies bound for the Palestinian Territories. A second flight was operated on 9 June to deliver additional medical aid. The flights had no passengers on board.