A commercial flight will link Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on Monday 31 August
An Israeli-American delegation will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Monday on the “first direct commercial flight” between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, several sources said on Friday. “An official Israeli delegation will travel to Abu Dhabi on a direct El Al flight for the first time,” a spokesperson for the carrier said on Friday, adding that the flight was to take place on Monday.
In fact, the Israel Civil Aviation Authority website on Friday afternoon showed an El Al flight LY971 from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi for Monday morning (LY971, operated by a Boeing 737-900ER reg0. 4X-EHD, is scheduled to depart Tel Aviv Ben Gourion airport at 10:30 and land at 15:05 in Abu Dhabi). The return flight will be LY972, and incidentally, 971 is the phone country code for the UAE, 972 the country code for Israel.
The El Al spokesperson did not specify the identity of the members of the delegation, but White House adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, expected in the coming days in Israel, said Thursday that he would take part in the “first direct commercial flight” between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on 13 August the normalisation of their relations with the project, in particular, to operate direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi or Dubai, two main cities of the Emirates, and to promote tourism between the two countries.
The Emirates and Israel are geographically separated by Saudi Arabia, a country ally of the United States and close to the Emirates, but with which Israel has no official relations.
“We have already started discussions to open a corridor passing over Saudi Arabia which will shorten the flight time between Israel and the Emirates,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week.
The El Al spokesman did not say on Friday whether the Tel Aviv-Abu Dhabi flight would cross or bypass Saudi airspace, but finally, El Al got the authorisation to fly over Saudi Arabia.
In May, Etihad Airways made what is believed to be the first flight by a commercial airline between the UAE and Israel in order to deliver medical supplies and other cargo for the Palestinian’s. No passengers were onboard the flight. A second delivery of cargo was delivered by Etihad in June.