The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Etihad Airways on Monday said that it aimed to start daily scheduled flights around the year to Tel Aviv, Israel from next year.
The announcement comes after the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the two nations and the signing of the Abraham Accords between UAE and Israel in Washington DC on September 15, Etihad said in a statement.
“Only a month later, Etihad became the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Tel Aviv on October 19, 2020,” it noted.
The new service will be effective from March 28, 2021 and eyes “greater choice and convenience” for point-to-point business and leisure travellers between the UAE and Israel.
Departures will be timed to connect via Abu Dhabi to key gateways across the Etihad network including China, India, Thailand, and Australia, Etihad added.
According to a US-brokered deal, Israel had pledged to suspend its planned annexation of Palestinian lands in exchange for a normalisation of ties with the UAE.
The agreement was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States that accelerated recently, White House officials said.
A joint statement issued by the three nations said US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed had “agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates”.
The statement said that “as a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty” over areas of the West Bank that were envisioned in a US plan announced by Trump in January.
The agreement envisions giving Muslims greater access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem by allowing them to fly from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, White House officials had said.