Etihad Airways has become the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel.
The departure will bring top travel and tourism leaders from Israel to the United Arab Emirates.
The historic flight departed Tel Aviv earlier, operated by an Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the three-and-a-half-hour journey.
The trip was flown in partnership with the Maman Group, and the return journey will depart Abu Dhabi tomorrow.
As a travel trade mission, the flight will bring a group of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision makers, travel agents and cargo agents, along with media to experience Abu Dhabi, at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of 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 United Arab Emirates and Israel in Washington in September.
It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on August 31st.
Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “This flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the United Arab Emirates, 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.
Coinciding with the first commercial flight, Etihad has become the first non-Israeli airline in the Middle East to launch a dedicated website for the Israeli market in Hebrew.
Take a look here.