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Emirates and Etihad Open Israel for Progress as New Enterprise Relationships Deepen

An Etihad Airways-operated Airbus A380-800 jetbus on display at the 2017 Dubai Airshow international aerospace event.

Marina Lystseva | TASS | Getty Images

Etihad Airways will operate scheduled flights to Tel Aviv daily. This is yet another sign that business in the Emirates is actively tapping Israeli markets for mutual growth opportunities.

"After signing the new bilateral agreement, Etihad is pleased to announce a direct link between these key cities," said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad's chief operating officer, in a statement.

Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based airline of the United Arab Emirates, is launching direct flights from Dubai to Tel Aviv, a key business and technology center, together with Flydubai. The Etihad ministry will take effect March 28th next year.

"The start of scheduled flights is a historic moment and, as an airline, Etihad reaffirms its commitment to growing trade and tourism opportunities not only between the two countries but also within the region and beyond," added Al Bulooki.

Dubai-based Emirates also said it is reviewing market opportunities with Israel.

"Everyone expects a lot of business or tourist activity as the two countries join the new relationship," Emirates President Tim Clark told CNBC on Sunday in an exclusive interview.

"The likelihood that passengers of Israeli origin in other parts of our network will move through our network is clear and present. So we are just deciding how best to proceed," added Clark. "There will be a number of airlines by the end of this month."

The Israeli flagship El Al, as well as Israir and Arkia, plan to start flights from Tel Aviv to Dubai in December.

The start of the flights follows the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nations and the signing of the Abrahamic Accords between the United Arab Emirates and Israel in mid-September. Etihad was the first GCC airline to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Tel Aviv on October 19, 2020.

Etihad said its new service would target business and leisure travelers while promoting direct inbound tourism to Abu Dhabi and the UAE. It added that the flights will fly to countries like China, India, Thailand and Australia via Abu Dhabi.

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