Historic GCC Commercial Flight: Israel and UAE Link Up Via Etihad Airways


By India Strategic

Tel Aviv/ Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has become the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel.

The historic flight, operated by an Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, was flown in partnership with the Maman Group, and landed at around 7 a.m. It took off a few hours later for the three-and-a-half-hour journey from Israel to the UAE.

“Today, we make history. Etihad has become the first Gulf airline to operate a passenger flight to Israel. And this is only the beginning… Salam and Shalom!” Etihad Airways tweeted.

“Shalom Tel Aviv! Thank you for the very warm welcome to #Israel,” it said in another tweet.

On board the return flight was a group of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision makers, travel agents, and cargo agents, along with the media to experience Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry.

This is the latest development in a growing cooperation between the two nations following the establishment of diplomatic ties, and the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel in Washington D.C. on September 15. It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on August 31.

His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Today’s flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the UAE, and in Israel, and Etihad as the national airline, is delighted to be leading the way. We are just starting to explore the long-term potential of these newly forged relationships, which will be sure to greatly benefit the economies of both nations, particularly in the areas of trade and tourism, and ultimately the people who call this diverse and wonderful region home.”

As an important facilitator of trade, the flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi will also carry commercial cargo sourced from, and destined for, points across Etihad’s global network, in addition to commercial guests.

Etihad has also become the first non-Israeli airline in the Middle East to launch a dedicated website for the Israeli market in Hebrew. Also available in English, the Israeli version of the airline’s official website contains digital content including extensive information on Etihad’s operations, product, services, and network.

The site also includes an Abu Dhabi destination guide.

The site can be viewed in Hebrew at www.etihad.com/he-il and in English at www.etihad.com/en-il.

As the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines, acclaimed for its unparalleled service, industry leading cabins, and genuine Arabian hospitality.

Published by India Strategic on October 19, 2020.

This flight was the next step after the first commercial flight occurred on October 18, 2020 with Flight#LY973 from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Manama, Bahrain.

The El Al flight LY973 took off from Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport in the capital Tel Aviv at 11:19am local time and landed in the Bahraini capital Manama at 1:33pm local time, according to flight tracker FlightRadar24.

The airliner carried a delegation of US and Israeli officials that were traveling to Bahrain to sign a normalization declaration formally launching full diplomatic relations between the two countries. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, are leading the delegation, according to the US Treasury Department.

And after landing in Manama, Barhrain.