The first Etihad Airways passenger plane has landed in Israel as the United Arab Emirates and Israel sign deal for commercial passenger flights between the two nations.
The new agreement is for 28 weekly flights that will go both ways between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This comes as part of the “Abraham Agreement” signed last month between Israel and the UAE.
The UAE’s two main airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways, will fly the routes along with two Israeli airlines, Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. and Arkia Airlines Ltd.
The deal will also allow for an unlimited numbers of charter flights to fly between Eilat’s new Ramon Airport to the UAE in addition to the 28 weekly flights. There will also be 10 weekly cargo flights between Israel and the UAE.
The plane will take an Israeli trade delegation with it back to the UAE. Etihad Airways even offers a Hebrew website.
Its captain spoke at the airport and gave the world some historic words fitting for the occasion.
“If someone asked me a few months ago that I’ll be here in Tel-Aviv, I would say that’s impossible. But because we have brave men who believe in peace… they work together and they make peace. And I hope the whole region will one day be in peace.”
Just last week an Etihad Airways flight became the first from a United Arab Emirates airline to cross through Israeli airspace.
An Etihad Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner made the flight, on its return to Abu Dhabi from Milan. Being able to cross through Israel saves such flights about 90 minutes of flight time.
“If someone asked me a few months ago if I would be here in Tel-Aviv, I would say that’s impossible…It’s the beginning of a new relationship”. Listen to the captain of the first ever @etihad flight that landed in Israel this morningpic.twitter.com/aNhvHTsXSC
— Yiftah Curiel (@yiftahc) October 19, 2020
Manama: Israel & #Bahrain signed a series of agreements between them, establishing diplomatic, peaceful relations and covering 🇮🇱🇧🇭 bilateral cooperation in civil aviation, finance & trade, communications, agriculture & more.
📎https://t.co/00xDtDrsPF @nccbahrain @bahdiplomatic pic.twitter.com/CXtjSkZeqD
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) October 18, 2020
The flight was made possible as part of a new aviation agreement between Jordan and Israel which allows for such international flights to cross through the two nations’ air space.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev stated: "This is a historic and exciting day for the State of Israel, which is now experiencing the beginning of an economic boom with new markets and the opening of the sky to new, fascinating and exciting destinations."
"I would like to thank all the professional bodies in the Transportation Ministry, The Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Authority who brought the agreement to a conclusion at record speed, and I wish success to all Israeli airlines that will establish the new routes to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and later to other Gulf countries.”