An Etihad Airways plane carrying a delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a first official visit, lands at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, on October 20, 2020. - The UAE delegation left on the country's first official visit to Israel with a string of deals set to be signed after the two countries signed a deal to normalise ties last month. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad To Start Direct Flights To Israel Next Year

Etihad Airways will start daily flights to Tel Aviv in March after the United Arab Emirates and Israel’s established formal ties this year.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said on Monday it would start daily flights to Tel Aviv in March 2021 after the United Arab Emirates and Israel’s established formal ties this year.

Flight will start March 28 and will be timed to connect with Etihad services to and from China, Thailand, India and Australia, the state-owned carrier said in a statement.

The announcement comes as the aviation industry faces its worst-ever crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has wrecked air travel demand.

Etihad has slashed jobs and pushed forward with plans to shrink into a mid-sized carrier focused on carrying passengers to and from Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital.

Abu Dhabi does not allow non-residents to enter the emirate at its airport, and has not said when that coronavirus-related restriction would be lifted.

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Neighbouring Dubai allows foreign visitors to enter.

State-owned flydubai will launch direct flights to Tel Avivthis month, while Dubai’s airport operator has said El Al, Israir, Arkia will start Tel Aviv-Dubai services in December,

Etihad, flydubai and Israel’ El Al have operated charter services between the UAE and Israel in recent months.

IOL Travel reported in October that Etihad Airways conducted its first-ever direct commercial passenger flight from the capital of Abu Dhabi to Israel’s Tel Aviv ahead of launching regular air traffic between the two countries.

“Today, we make history. Etihad has become the first Gulf airline to operate a passenger flight to Israel. And this is only the beginning,” the airline said in its Twitter post at the time.

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