Israel set to operate first-ever flight to UAE Monday
US officials announced Tuesday that the first commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is scheduled for next week, carrying American and Israeli delegations to Abu Dhabi after the two countries agreed to normalize relations.
The flight, likely on an Israeli El Al airliner, would carry a US delegation headed by President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, the officials said.
They added that the Israeli delegation would be made up of experts in the fields of aviation, space, health and banking.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said the flight would depart this coming Monday and that the Israeli delegation would be led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat. Also taking part would be the head of the Civil Aviation Authority and the directors of the PMO, the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry.
The Israeli statement didn’t include a reference to the flight being direct or to an El Al airliner being used.
It said the US delegation, apart from Kushner and O’Brien, would also include special envoy for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz.
Netanyahu’s office said the talks in Abu Dhabi would focus on ways to promote collaborations in fields including aviation, tourism, trade, finance, health, energy and defence. Netanyahu said the talks would “advance peace and normalization” with the UAE.
“This is a historic agreement,” Netanayahu said. “It will spur growth. It will help bring general economic growth, especially during the coronavirus era. I hope that other countries in our region will join the circle of peace.” He also expressed hope that Israeli citizens will soon be able to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “There is a lot to see there,” he said.
It will be the first known direct flight by Israel’s national airline to a Gulf Arab country and an important sign of progress in implementing the agreement by Israel and the UAE to establish official relations.