Etihad Airways will create history by becoming the first Gulf-based carrier to operate commercial passenger flights between Israel and the UAE.
The three-and-a-half-hour flight, flown in partnership with the Maman Group, has departed Tel Aviv today.
Operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, it will bring Israel’s top travel and tourism leaders to the UAE.
"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," said His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group.
"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.
Meanwhile, the return journey will depart the UAE capital on October 21.
This is the latest development in the 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.
Meanwhile, Etihad has 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 and in English.