Israeli airline Israir has already begun the process of applying for permission to land in the United Arab Emirates. The news comes less than a week after a historic peace deal between the two nations was announced, opening the way for new flight routes.
Last week saw a historic announcement, as the UAE agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel following years of not recognizing the state. Telephone connections between the two countries have already been established, and work is now underway to create direct air links between the two nations to further their connectivity.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest
Israir seeks a permit
While Emirates or Etihad would be likely to launch a service connecting the two countries from the UAE, it seems as though an Israeli airline is already seeking the necessary permits for the route. Bloomberg yesterday reported that the airline’s CEO feels that Dubai will be very popular with tourists from Israel.
Based in Tel Aviv, Israir Airlines was founded in 1989, before adopting its current name in 1996. The airline is one of four Israeli passenger carriers, alongside El Al, Arkia, and Sun d’Or. According to Planespotters.net, Israir has seven aircraft. This includes four Airbus A320s, alongside three ATR-72 planes. Data from FlightRadar24.com shows that all seven are active, flying to a variety of destinations, including Paris.
The flight corridor hurdle
Israir would potentially face one hurdle in establishing direct flights to the United Arab Emirates. The route between Tel Aviv and Dubai or Abu Dhabi as the crow flies heads right over the top of Saudi Arabia. To operate in the country’s airspace, overflight permission would be required.
According to Bloomberg, Israir’s CEO said that this permission would be required to fly to the UAE. He added that, to date, Israeli airlines have failed to secure such approval for flights to destinations such as India.
The long route
Etihad previously provided a hint that relations between the two countries were begging to thaw when it operated two aid flights to Tel Aviv despite the lack of political relationships at the time. The flights were the first to be operated to Tel Aviv by UAE registered aircraft. The trips were carrying aid to Palestine to help in the fight against COVID-19. The support included medical essentials, including ventilators and PPE.
When operating the flights, Etihad took a very roundabout route to reach Tel Aviv. The course avoided Saudi Arabian and Syrian airspace. As such, the aircraft flew north over Kuwait and Iraq before turning west when in Turkish airspace. The plane then skirted around the top of Syria, before flying south past Cyprus over the Mediterranean ocean. The flights then turned towards land to touchdown at Tel Aviv’s Ben Guiron Airport.
What do you think of the establishment of direct flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!