Emirates, Etihad tapped Israel for development as new trade ties deepened


Dubai Airshow is an Airbus A380-800 jet aircraft operated by Etihad Airways at the 2017 International Aerospace Event.

Marina Listseva | TASS | Getty Images

Etihad Airways is set to begin daily scheduled flights to Tel Aviv, in another sign that the Emirati business is actively exploiting Israeli markets for mutual development opportunities.

Etihad Chief Operating Officer Mohammed Al Buluki said in a statement, “After the signing of the new bilateral agreement, Etihad is pleased to announce a direct relationship between these important cities.”

Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based flag bearer of the United Arab Emirates, joins Dubai-based Flydubai in launching a direct flight to Tel Aviv, a major business and technology hub. Etihad service will be effective from March 28 next year.

“The beginning of scheduled flights is a historic moment and as an airline, Etihad has expressed a commitment between the two countries to not only increase opportunities for trade and tourism, but also,” Al Buluki said.

The Dubai-based Emirate also said that it was exploring market opportunities with Israel.

“Everyone expects a lot from the business activities of the two countries or the tourism activities of the two countries,” Emirates President Tim Clarke told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

“The possibility of Israeli-origin travelers moving to our network in other parts of our network is clear and current, so we’re only deciding how good it is about it,” Clarke said. “Several careers are scheduled to begin later this month.”

Israeli chief El Al, as well as Israel and Arkia, plan to launch Tel Aviv-to-Dubai services in December.

The flights began after the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the signing of the Abraham Accord between the UAE and Israel in mid-September. Etihad became the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight from Tel Aviv on 19 October 2020.

Etihad said its new service will target business and leisure travelers, promoting direct inbound tourism to Abu Dhabi and the UAE. It says flights will connect countries including China, India, Thailand and Australia via Abu Dhabi.

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