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UAE's Flydubai Lands 1st Scheduled Flight in Tel Aviv

UAE's Flydubai Lands 1st Scheduled Flight in Tel Aviv

Thursday, 26 November, 2020 - 11:45
FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft bearing the logo of flydubai is parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, US March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder/File Photo

A flight operated by budget airline flydubai landed in Tel Aviv on Thursday, the first scheduled commercial service between the two cities following the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on hand for the arrival of the inaugural flight after its nearly four-hour trip, called it "a moment of history."

"As-salaam alaikum (Peace be upon you)," he said to arriving passengers. "Come again and again and again."

The United Arab Emirates in September signed a landmark US-brokered deal to formalize relations with Israel.

Commenting on the accord in a tweet Thursday, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said it would foster "prosperity and progress" in the Middle East.

"The start of scheduled flights will contribute to economic development and create further opportunities for investment," flydubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith said when the service was announced earlier this month.

The Dubai carrier will fly the route twice daily, and Israeli airlines El Al and Israir are both expected to launch their commercial services between the cities next month.

Etihad Airways, based in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, has said it will begin flying to Tel Aviv in March 2021.

The UAE and Israel have already signed treaties on visa-free travel along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.

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