Khaleej Times was onboard the maiden journey on the first commercial service.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the inaugural flydubai flight from Dubai that touched down at the Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Thursday at 11.30am local time.
Flight FZ1163 took off from Dubai International airport at 9.40am. It is the first commercial air service between the two countries after the UAE and Israel formally normalised relations on September 15 by signing the US brokered Abraham Accords.
Welcoming the special delegation, Netanyahu said “there will be many more flights” going both directions “but you can only be first once.”
“This is a moment of history because this is the first commercial flight between Dubai and Israel.”
“And this is a pivotal moment because we’re changing history. It’s not that we’re marching forward, we’re flying with breakneck speed into a new era that is now clearly changing the Middle East. Changing the future for our peoples. They have embraced it with unbelievable enthusiasm,” said the PM.
“You can see that in the entrepreneurs from both sides, the tourist operators who know that there will be multitudes of tourists going to both sides, the technologists, the people who deal with agriculture, with health, with the environment with energy, with every endeavor of human creativity.”
Khaleej Times was onboard the maiden journey on the first commercial service, along with a flydubai delegation and Israeli citizens, who are flying home from Dubai.
The Dubai-based airline will have two daily flights to Tel Aviv, and tickets are on sale for the first commercial service.
UAE and Israeli citizens can visit each other’s country without applying for visa as both countries have agreed on a visa-free travel.
Flight operations have begun between the two countries after the UAE and Israel signed the historic Abraham Accords on September 15, normalizing relations with Israel. In exchange of the US-brokered deal, Israel has agreed to halt annexations in the West Bank. UAE and Israel have signed many partnership agreements since then, and airlines are also expecting a surge in air travel as both countries have opened up to business and tourism.
Netanyahu said the visa-free travel agreement “will be a tremendous blessing and increase the cooperation between our peoples.”
“So welcome and come back again and again and again.”
“One thing that I see without any trace of cynicism or any exaggeration is that there is enormous enthusiasm of our peoples for this. The fact that we are now facilitating direct flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manama, and beyond that even to the East, I think changes not only the situation of Israel but changes the situation of the Emirates, of Bahrain and all the countries of the Middle East and the entire world has taken note.”
Ghaith Al Ghaith, flydubai chief executive, who was also on the first flight said the agreement will make the whole region stronger.
“We are a lucky generation in that we have been the generation that realised this potential and our leaders gave us this opportunity to build something very special.”
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