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Abu Dhabi and Dubai could become Israel’s transfer flights hubs

by Radhakrishnan Pattabiraman

With the historic deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the aviation sector is set to get a big boost amist the troubled COVID-19 situation.

Direct flights between Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Tel Aviv a reality

As the world is reeling under COVID-19 pandemic, something unexpected happened. Two aircraft, one Airbus A330 (Registration No. A6-EYP) and one Boeing 787 (Registration No. A6-BNA) quietly landed in Tel Aviv.  What was considered impossible has become possible: a Gulf carrier landed in Tel Aviv.  Until now, only El Al and Turkish Airlines were able to fly to Israel.  Passengers from Israel and those who wish to go there always had to transit at Istanbul.  Now, that is changing.

The historic deal

August 13, 2020 became a historic day when the United Arab Emirates & Israel announced that they would establish diplomatic relations.  The deal was brokered by the USA and includes the establishment of embassies in their respective countries. The declaration explicitly mentions the opportunity of direct flights and tourism development.

© Dubai Airport

The ‘Great 3 E’ combination

Etihad, Emirate (UAE) and El Al (Israel) might become a winning combination over the years to come. El Al, Israel’s flag carrier, has about 44 Boeings flying to 36 non-stop destinations around the world. It serves 5.5million passengers every year and: it has a codeshare agreement with other airlines.

Emirates & Ethihad enjoy Middle-Eastern hub carrier status due to the sheer size of their fleet. Together, a combination of almost all Airbus and Boeing models fly to nearly any destination in the world.

The ‘Great 3 E’ is a combination with great potential and could be an important addition to the current El Al network. As avoiding Saudi Arabian and Iraq airspace often causes long detours for El Al, passengers can now choose Abu Dhabi or Dubai as attractive alternatives to Istanbul. As the relationship between Israel and other Middle-Eastern countries grows, cargo flights are also likely to add a good amount of revenue and provide new employment opportunities. All in all, the deal is bound to work as a catalyst to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the long run.

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