Multiple airlines eye an opportunity in Israel’s normalization deals

? BLOG UPDATE | Feb 10, 2021

Many flight companies have already added routes between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, while direct flights to Bahrain and Morocco are expected to follow now. 

As a result of Israel’s normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, Bhutan and Kosovo, more and more direct flight routes are being established between the countries.


In October 2020, the first commercial flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv took off, while the first Israeli tourists landed in Dubai a month later.


An estimated 50,000 Israelis have already visited the United Arab Emirates, as the national carrier, El Al, the Emirati low-cost airline FlyDubai and Israeli Israir have already been operating the route for a couple of months.


The Emirati airlines Etihad and Emirates are also expected to put Tel Aviv on their schedules, once Israel reopens Ben Gurion Airport.


At the moment, the airport is closed until Sunday, February 21st due to COVID-19 restrictions.


“An outstretched hand for peace”


The Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has also seen an opportunity in the newly established ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. From March 1st, 2021, Wizz Air will offer flights between Tel Aviv and the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.


Direct flights between Israel and Morocco will most likely also soon become reality. At the end of January 2021, the two countries signed an aviation agreement that enables them to operate direct flights on the route.


In October 2020, Israel made a similar deal with Bahrain, allowing direct flights to operate between Tel Aviv and the Bahraini capital, Manama, but flights have not taken off yet.


The Bahraini airline Gulf Air is expected to launch flights as soon as possible.


When the aviation agreement was signed, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that the deal would strengthen tourism and trade between the two countries.


The Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, also hailed the efforts.


“It is a partnership between equals that will lead to the beginning of a wave of business, economy, tourism, the promotion of Israeli assets, the presentation of its beautiful face and our outstretched hand for peace between us and the countries of the region,” he said.


Dubai becomes kosher


Lots of hotels in the United Arab Emirates have already added kosher menus to their repertoires, and so has the airline Emirates.


In September 2020, the airline announced that it would open a kosher food production facility at its offices in the United Arab Emirates.


Production of the kosher meals is expected to begin at the beginning of this year.


“By setting up our own capability at EKFC to produce kosher food, we are confident that we can better serve our customers – not only in the aviation sector but also in the hospitality, F&B and events sectors, including the upcoming Expo. Making freshly prepared meals here in the UAE gives us better control over meal design and quality assurance,” the CEO of Emirates Flight Catering, Saeed Mohammed, said in September 2020.