Flydubai jet receives water salute at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on Thursday. WAM
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
In a monumental move, UAE’s budget airline flydubai launched direct flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv.
The first scheduled commercial flight operated by flydubai from Dubai International Airport landed at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport on Thursday to a water salute.
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."
Benjamin Netanyahu and Ghaith Al Ghaith attend a welcoming ceremony at Ben-Gurion International Airport. WAM
"As-salaam alaikum (Peace be upon you)," he said to arriving passengers. "Come again and again and again."
The flight is the first scheduled commercial service between the two cities following the normalisation of ties.
UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the service would foster "prosperity and progress" in the Middle East.
Flydubai aircraft lands at Ben Gurion Aiport near Tel Aviv. AFP
The airline said it would fly to Tel Aviv twice daily. The UAE and Israeli citizens are now able to visit each others' country without applying for a visa before travelling.
"This opens up trade, economy, tourism and makes for a truly new Middle East, it is a meeting of two peoples," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a welcoming ceremony for the flight at Ben Gurion Airport.
People, including businessmen, pull their luggage upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport. Reuters
El Al Israel Airlines said on Monday it would operate 14 weekly flights from Tel Aviv to Dubai from Dec.13. Smaller rivals Arkia and Israir have said they plan to begin flights to Dubai next month.
The inaugural flight was flown by Captain Patrick Gonzenbach and Emirati First Officer, Abdulla Al Shamsi.
On board the aircraft was a delegation led by Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai.
They were met on arrival by Netanyahu, along with a delegation that included the CEO of Ben Gurion International Airport Shmuel Zakay and representatives from the aviation industry.
An Israeli passenger from a flydubai flight from Tel Aviv waves her passport on arrival at Dubai International Airport. AP
Ghaith Al Ghaith said: "Today’s inaugural flight sees the air transport agreement realised. The creation of these direct air links will support the development of commercial ventures across a number of sectors helping to drive success and prosperity. We look forward to welcoming the first passengers from Israel as they come to explore the UAE."
Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce, said, "Since we announced the launch of operations to Tel Aviv we have seen strong demand for services from both Israel and the UAE. We received our first bookings from both tourists and business travellers shortly after the schedule was published. There is opportunity to further grow our double daily service."
Its extended codeshare partnership with Emirates offers travellers more seamless connections through Dubai’s international aviation hub to 155 destinations between both the Emirates and flydubai networks including Australia, China, Indian Ocean, Japan, South Asia and the United States.
Passengers push their luggage at Ben Gurion International Airport. Reuters
Flydubai offers convenient and reliable travel services. Passengers will have the option to experience Business Class enjoying space and privacy in the cabin, a comfortable spacious seat, inflight entertainment with films and TV shows available to watch and a range of dining options. Kosher meals are available to pre-order. Passengers will also benefit from a priority check-in service at Terminal 3, Dubai International.
Passengers travelling in Economy Class will enjoy a Recaro designed seat offering optimal levels of space and comfort in the air during the less than four-hour flight.
Flydubai continues to roll-out WiFi across its fleet enabling passengers to stay connected during their flight and can browse the web, send emails, use social networks and get the latest news. Passengers are able to choose between bundled, Flex/Value, or unbundled, Lite, fares depending on their travel needs.
Etihad Airways has said it will begin flying to Tel Aviv in March 2021.
CEO of flydubai Ghaith Al Gaith said, “The start of scheduled flights will contribute to economic development and create further opportunities for investment in pursuit of our shared interests and values.”
Manila’s national carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL) shall have its last Manila-Dubai-Manila services this weekend.
the decision stems from the UAE's keenness to enable those holding valid residence visas to get reunited with their families after having been affected by the precautionary measures taken under the current exceptional circumstances to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 60,000 Indians have been repatriated through flights operated by Air India or chartered flights of other airlines under the Vande Bharat Mission launched on May 7 to repatriate Indians stranded in the UAE due to Covid-19 situation.
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Gates, a billionaire who stepped down as chairman of Microsoft Corp in 2014, has through his philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed at least $1.75 billion to the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes support for some makers of vaccines,
The daily number of new coronavirus infections in France stayed above 20,000 on average for the fourth straight day on Tuesday, while hospitalisations reached an eight-week high of 27,041.
Japan this month issued a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas to tame a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The measure includes a request for restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m. although there are currently no penalties for non-compliance.