The historic Abraham Accords which were signed in September 2020 between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, led to the opening of the skies between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Thanks to the Abraham Accords, the United Arab Emirates' national airline, Etihad, based in the capital Abu Dhabi, also announced the operation of direct flights on the Tel Aviv - Abu Dhabi route.
On April 6th, Etihad's first scheduled flight from Abu Dhabi to Israel landed in Israel, with a diplomatic and economic delegation representing the United Arab Emirates on board. Members of the delegation included H.E., the First Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Israel, Mohamed Al-Khaja, Tony Douglas, CEO of the national airline Etihad, and Mr. Eitan Na'eh, head of the Israeli delegation to the United Arab Emirates.
On the occasion of the coverage of the historic debut flight, dozens of Israeli and International journalists and film crews arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport to watch the historic moment take place.
The flight landed at Ben Gurion Airport at 12:25 PM, Israel time, and was received with the traditional ceremony for first-scheduled flights.
Afterwards, a festive reception was held with the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Israel, the CEO of the Etihad Group, and Shmuel Zakai, the CEO of Ben Gurion Airport, which all sent their blessings.
Later that day, Etihad hosted an exclusive cocktail event held in the luxurious penthouse of the prestigious Jaffa Hotel, attended by Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz, Mohamed al-Khaja – UAE’s First Ambassador to Israel, Tony Douglas, CEO of the Etihad Group, Chairman of the consulting firm Pactum Amanda Gutkin, Director of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art Tania Coen-Uzzielli, Director of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi Manuel Rabate, Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism Amir Halevi, CEO of Miral Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, General Manager of the Ministry of Sports and Culture Raz Frohlich, CEO of the Airports Authority Shmuel Zakai, owners of the Maskit fashion house Nir and Sharon Tal and others.
The launch events of Etihad's new line between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv have received media coverage in all Israeli and International media outlets, with over 100 articles on various platforms including television, economic press, news sites, radio, countless tweets on Twitter in a variety of languages including Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish and of course English and Hebrew.