Abu Dhabi flag-carrier Etihad Airways made history earlier today, when its first scheduled flight landed at Ben Gurion International Airport, just as Israel was added to Abu Dhabi’s green list for quarantine-free travel.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways flight EY598, the first scheduled flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, took to the skies this morning (Tuesday), carrying on board a diplomatic and economic delegation representing the UAE. The delegation included H.E. Mohamed Al-Khaja, UAE’s first Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Eitan Nae’eh, Israel’s Head of Mission to the UAE, and Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad Aviation Group.
The demand for travel between Israel and the UAE and beyond is expected to be sky rocket, both for business and leisure travel purposes. The fact that Israel and the UAE boast two of the highest vaccination rates in the world is an added bonus. Just days before the historic launch of the new route between Abu Dhabi and TLV, Passport News held a special interview with Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales & Cargo at Etihad Airways, highlighting the carrier’s “expectation for a strong and lasting bond between Abu Dhabi and Israel,” adding that, “we expect tourism between the two countries to expand as soon as government restrictions due to the pandemic are lifted.”
The Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv route will be operated by the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, and Etihad will initially offer two flights a week. To add to the good news, on the return flight to Abu Dhabi, vaccinated Israelis will no longer be required to quarantine on arrival, as the country has been added to the Abu Dhabi ‘green list’. Passengers travelling from Tel Aviv can also take advantage of onward connecting flights to 35 destinations worldwide, across Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Australia.
Etihad and El AL, the national carrier of Israel signed a codeshare agreement, including a frequent flyer tie-up and cooperation in cargo, training and maintenance services.
Etihad established a reputation as a leading airline in response to the pandemic. In February 2021, it was the first airline in the world to vaccinate 100% of its flight crews. The airline has also introduced Etihad Wellness, to ensure the passengers’ wellbeing at every stage of the journey and provide them with greater peace of mind when travelling.
To further reinforce Etihad Wellness, the airline provides global COVID-19 insurance with every purchased ticket, so passengers are covered when they are away from home. And last but not least, Etihad was the first airline in the world to require all passengers to show a negative PCR test result before departure, and another one upon arrival in Abu Dhabi.