United Arab Emirates airline Etihad today made history with its first commercial passenger flight to Israel. The flight comes as tensions between the two nations thaw and follows two cargo aid flights operated by the airline earlier this year.
In mid-September, the United Arab Emirates and Israel met in Washington D.C. to sign the Abraham Accords. This saw the two nations establishing diplomatic ties. As part of these ties, the countries have opened up direct air travel routes that previously did not exist. While El Al was the first airline to make a flight carrying passengers between the two nations, Etihad has now followed.
Etihad’s Israel flight
Today Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad made history with its first passenger flight to Israel. The airline carried a delegation of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision-makers, travel and cargo agents, and media onboard the flight. For the flight, Etihad used one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, its green liveried Greenliner.
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Etihad made use of a new flight corridor between Israel, and the United Arab Emirates opened up by an overflight agreement with Saudi Arabia. On the airline’s previous two flights, its aircraft had to operate a very indirect route up to and around through Turkey, given the lack of overflight arrangements. The flight lasted two hours and 52 minutes, cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet.
The two previous flights operated by Etihad to Tel Avivwere only carrying cargo. Indeed, the aircraft, an A330 and Boeing 787, were loaded with aid from the UAE at the time, signifying that relations could be thawing between the two nations. The airline will return to Abu Dhabi with the guests from today on Wednesday, October 21st.