UAE Signs Historic Deal With Israel – How Emirates & Etihad Could Benefit

The United Arab Emirates and Israel today announced a historic deal that will see the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Earlier this year, Etihad made headlines around the world when it operated a series of unprecedented aid flights direct from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv.

Emirates, Etihad, Israel
Today a historic peace agreement was reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Emirates

Today, the world’s biggest news story is undoubtedly the peace deal struck between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The deal was announced this morning by the United States President, Donald Trump. It will undoubtedly have benefits for airlines from both countries, with direct connections being established between the two.

Benefits for Emirates and Etihad?

As part of the deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, each country will base an embassy in the other country’s territory. Additionally, to connect the countries, direct air links would need to be established. Emirates and Etihad, as the home carriers in the United Arab Emirates.

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Of course, flights between the two countries won’t necessarily be as straight forward as flying from A to B. The route as the crow flies would see aircraft heading directly through Saudi Arabian airspace. However, due to tensions between Israel and other Gulf regions, direct flights are not guaranteed.

Emirates, Etihad, Israel
Flights need to skirt around Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. Photo:

Instead, flights might have to take a horseshoe routing. This would take aircraft up the Persian Gulf, overflying Kuwait and Iraq. Passing to the east of Syria, flights would then enter Turkey, where they would make a left turn skirting around the top of Syria. Aircraft would then fly south over the Mediterranean, passing by Cyprus before approaching Tel Aviv.

Etihad’s historic flights

Flying to Israel will be nothing new for the Abu Dhabi based carrier Etihad. Earlier this year, the airline operated two unprecedented flights to Israel. The two trips were carrying vital aid bound for Palestine, including respirators and personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns.

The first flight was operated by one of the airlines Airbus A330 aircraft. The plane, A6-EYP, has since been flown to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard, for retirement. This flight, on May 19th, was truly historic as it represented the first flight of an aircraft registered in the United Arab Emirates to ever touch down in Israel.

Emirates, Etihad, Israel
Earlier this year, Etihad flew two unprecedented aid missions to Tel Aviv. Photo: Getty Images

While not as one of a kind as the first flight, Etihad sent a second aircraft to Tel Aviv a little under a month later. This saw a Boeing 787-9 registered as A6-BNA make the voyage. Palestine reportedly rejected the first shipment of aid, according to Reuters. As such, this second shipment was intended to replace the first shipment that had been sent. It was not immediately clear whether Palestine had also rejected the second shipment.

What do you make of today’s historic agreement? When do you think we may see flights connecting the two nations? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!