Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national airline and one of the world’s fastest-growing full-service carriers, will become the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel.

The latest move comes as part of Etihad Airway’s efforts to bring Israel’s travel and tourism leaders to the United Arab Emirates.

The three-and-a-half-hour flight, flown in partnership with the Maman Group, will depart Tel Aviv on 19 October from Israel to the UAE.

According to Etihad Airways, the return flight will depart from the UAE capital city of Abu Dhabi on 21 October.

Etihad noted that it will be using ‘Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft’ for these inaugural flights.

Onboard the flight from Israel will be tourism industry leaders, travel and cargo agents, and select media executives, who will fly to Abu Dhabi at the invitation of Etihad Airways.

In addition to carrying commercial guests, the flights between Tel Aviv and the UAE capital city will also carry commercial cargo ‘sourced from, and destined for’ locations across Etihad’s global network.

Etihad Aviation Group chairman Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei said: “Today’s flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the UAE, and in Israel, and Etihad as the national airline is delighted to be leading the way.

“We are just starting to explore the long-term potential of these newly forged relationships, which will be sure to greatly benefit the economies of both nations, particularly in the areas of trade and tourism, and ultimately the people who call this diverse and wonderful region home.”

In April, Etihad Airways signed a partnership with Australian firm Elenium Automation to test airport technology that helps identify medically at-risk travellers, including passengers who are possibly in the early stages of the Covid-19 virus.