The Dubai carrier Budget airline flydubai launched direct flights to Tel Aviv on Thursday, the first scheduled commercial service between the two cities, after the normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel. "These are the fruits of peace Dear Emirati tourists, welcome to Israel!" said the Israel spokesperson. The United Arab Emirates in September signed a landmark, first of its kind agreement by an Arab state in the Gulf, US-brokered deal to formalise relations with Israel.
The countries are expecting good dividends from the normalisation deal, including an influx of tourists as Dubai enters its winter high season to fix the hard hit economies. "The start of scheduled flights will contribute to economic development and create further opportunities for investment," flydubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith said when the service was announced earlier this month. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spokesman said, the PM will be on hand for the arrival of the inaugural flight after its nearly four-hour trip. "PM Netanyahu will attend this morning the welcoming ceremony for the first @flydubai commercial flight that will arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport," tweeted Ofir Gendelman.
The carrier will fly the route twice daily. The Israeli airlines El Al and Israir are expected to launch their commercial services between the cities next month. In march 2021, Etihad airways in UAE will start flying to Tel Aviv. Following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, UAE joins as the third country to normalise ties with Israel. The countries have already signed visa-free travel. Saudi has o far refrained from formalising ties with Israel but has given the green light to overflights from the Jewish state. Soon after the announcement of deal in August, El Al flew a delegation of US and Israeli officials -- led by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner -- to Abu Dhabi. It follows UAE delegates visit Tel Aviv and a string of charter flights carrying business groups.