Amid increasingly warming relations between Israel and many Gulf countries, Bahrain’s national airline, Gulf Air, is pushing ahead with its plans to serve Tel Aviv in Israel. The airline recently announced that tickets are now on sale for its first direct flights to the Israeli city, which take place on June 3rd, 2021. Let’s look at the flight details and what travelers can expect.
“We are delighted to announce the launch of our Bahrain – Tel Aviv route as part of the historic initiation of Bahraini – Israeli relations. As the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain; we take great pride in supporting our leadership and Kingdom in their role of preserving peace and prosperity in the region.
“We hope this is merely the beginning of developing further aviation opportunities and look forward to work with our friends and colleagues at EL AL and support each other to achieve bigger goals.” -H.E. Mr. Zayed R. Alzayani, Chairman of Gulf Air’s Board of Directors
A twice-weekly service
Following the lead of other airlines in the region, Gulf Air will soon commence direct service to Israel’s Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport. Starting June 3rd, this service will take place twice per week. Here are the details for the very first service:
- Bahrain to Tel Aviv: Flight GF972 departs Bahrain (BAH) at 09:00 and arrives at Tel Aviv (TLV) at 11:50. The total flight duration is two hours and 50 minutes. Upon arrival, the aircraft will spend approximately three and a half hours on the ground in Tel Aviv.
- Tel Aviv to Bahrain: Flight GF973 departs Tel Aviv at 15:20, arriving back in Bahrain at 17:55. The total flight duration on this leg is two hours and 35 minutes.
*All times listed above are local.
The aircraft scheduled to operate the flight is an Airbus A320neo. In Gulf Air’s fleet, these aircraft are configured with 16 Falcon Gold (business class) seats and 120 standard economy seats.
Business class is a 2-2 layout with a seat pitch of 46 inches, while economy class seats have a pitch of 30-31 inches and are a standard 3-3 layout. Personal IFE screens are available at all seats, with the airline’s jets equipped with inlight WiFi.
Other Middle Eastern carriers serving Tel Aviv
Due to regional politics, most Gulf countries had cut off relations with Israel. However, in the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic shift and easing of tensions leading to “normalized relations.” This has allowed carriers all over the region to launch new services to/from Israel. Here are a few examples:
- September 23rd, 2020: Israir operates the first direct commercial flight from Israel to Bahrain.
- November 26th, 2020: flydubai completes its first scheduled service to Tel Aviv since the UAE and Israel established diplomatic communications.
- December 13th, 2020: El Al flies its first scheduled commercial passenger flight from Israel to the UAE.
- April 6th, 2021: Etihad Airways inaugurates its first revenue-generating scheduled service from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv. This route operates twice-weekly in April and May using 787-9s.
Gulf Air hopes the new service and its agreements with El Al will promote traffic, “providing commercial and social gains for both countries, while paving the path for numerous connections…”
Do you have any plans to fly between Bahrain and Israel in the future? Let us know in the comments.