by: Itay Blumenthal
Thursday, 15 October 2020 | For the first time ever, a commercial flight of an Emirati company entered Israeli airspace on Wednesday.
An Etihad Airways flight from Milan, Italy, to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates was the first one from the Gulf state to receive permission to fly over Israel and Jordan, thus significantly shortening the time of travel by an hour and a half.
Israel and Jordan signed a deal last Thursday to open more flight paths over both countries and shorten flight times between Gulf states, the Far East and Asia, and Europe and North America.
Israeli airspace will now be used by a multitude of Arab countries, including Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as part of a new aviation agreement between Jerusalem and Amman.
The flight inspector notified the pilot upon the plane’s entry into Israeli airspace.
“Captain, we are excited and happy to have you in Israel,” the flight inspector said. “This is a historic moment we have all been waiting for, and we hope it will inspire the whole region and start a new era, God willing.”
Israel normalized ties with the UAE in August as part of a US-brokered deal, known as the Abraham Accords, signed last month at the White House alongside Bahrain.
Meanwhile, Ben Gurion Airport is expected to open on Thursday at midnight for flights as the government is set to start lifting some of the restrictions of the coronavirus lockdown.
Once open, travelers will be able to travel from Ben Gurion Airport to “green countries” [countries with low coronavirus infection rates] without entering isolation upon their return to Israel. Passengers will be able to purchase plane tickets starting Wednesday and arrive at Ben Gurion Airport starting Thursday.
Posted on October 15, 2020
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