Abu Dhabi’s Etihad starts direct passenger flights to Israel

Abu Dhabi state carrier Etihad Airways began direct commercial passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates capital to Tel Aviv in Israel – the latest direct air link between the two countries that established diplomatic relations last year.

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja and Israel’s head of mission to the UAE Eitan Na’eh were on the inaugural flight.

WAM said on Tuesday it had launched a news service in Hebrew, becoming the first Arab news agency to do so, with its reports focusing in part on bilateral relations between the UAE and Israel.

Etihad said it would initially offer two weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, which has placed Israel on its green list of countries, meaning visitors do not need to quarantine due to the coronavirus.

Other UAE and Israeli airlines have launched direct flights.

The Gulf Arab state has become a popular destinations for Israeli tourists even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt travel globally.

The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain normalised ties with Israel last September as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement.