flydubai Operates Its First Commercial Flight To Israel

Today, Dubai-based carrier flydubai completed its first scheduled service to Tel Aviv since the UAE and Israel established diplomatic communications. The trip comes as many airlines from each country both rush to serve the new market.

flydubai, Tel Aviv, Inaugural flight
flydubai has completed its first scheduled commercial passenger flight to Tel Aviv. Photo: flydubai

Earlier this year, the world was pleasantly surprised to discover that diplomatic ties would be introduced between the United Arab Emirates and Israel following a deal. While this carries many benefits, such as a phone link being established between the two, it also came with the benefit of new flight routes. This created a massive opportunity for each country’s airlines.

First scheduled flydubai flight

Today saw the first scheduled commercial passenger flight of a flydubai aircraft from its home in Dubai to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. Flight FZ1163 departed from Dubai at 10:18, around 40 minutes later than had been planned.

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The aircraft, a six-year-old Boeing 737, flew for three hours and 20 minutes, passing over the Persian Gulf before overflying Saudi Arabia and Jordan. It then landed in Israel at 11:38, just three minutes behind schedule.

flydubai, Tel Aviv, Inaugural flight
The flight took three hours and 20 minutes. Photo:

The flight between the two nations covers 1,152 nautical miles as the crow flies. Thanks to overflight permission granted by Saudi Arabia for Israel-UAE flights, the aircraft could fly pretty much as the crow flies between the two. Before such permission was granted earlier this year, airlines flying between the two countries had to route up around Syria’s top through Turkey.

A warm reception

The aircraft carried paying passengers, as well as the CEO of flydubai, Ghaith Al Ghaith. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, the flight was greeted by a water cannon salute, in addition to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

It wasn’t the first time flydubai has flown to Tel Aviv, however. Towards the start of November, Simple Flying reported that the airline had carried the first Israeli tourists to Dubai following a special charter flight.

flydubai, Tel Aviv, Inaugural flight
The flight will operate twice a day in each direction. Photo: flydubai

Commenting on the historic first commercial flight, Al Ghaith said,

“Today’s inaugural flight sees the air transport agreement realised. The creation of these direct air links will support the development of commercial ventures across a number of sectors helping to drive success and prosperity. We look forward to welcoming the first passengers from Israel as they come to explore the UAE.”

flydubai’s Tel Aviv link is scheduled to operate twice a day from Dubai. One flight will depart Dubai in the morning, with the other departing in the evening. Fares for the route start at just $360 in economy and $1,600 in business class.

What do you make of the inaugural flydubai flight to Tel Aviv? Were you onboard? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.