Emirates has confirmed that it will launch an eagerly anticipated daily service between Dubai and Tel Aviv on June 23, 2022, after a more than six-month delay caused by pandemic-era travel restrictions imposed by the Israeli government.
The Dubai-based airline had originally hoped to launch the route on December 6, 2021, but was forced to indefinitely delay the service just weeks before the first flight was scheduled to take off after Israel introduced emergency travel restrictions to counter the Omicron variant.
“We look forward to finally welcoming customers onboard our flights to and from Tel Aviv this summer, and offer them substantial connectivity to and through our Dubai hub as COVID travel restrictions continue to ease around the world and more borders open up,” commented Emirates’ chief commercial officer Adnan Kazim on Tuesday.
“In addition to unlocking tremendous pent-up demand, Emirates’ debut into Israel will mean more choice for travelers as they return to the skies, and more opportunities for businesses to visit Dubai and beyond,” Kazim continued.
The new service comes a little more than a year and a half after direct commercial flights were permitted between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries through the Arabian Accords.
Although other UAE and Israeli airlines have operated flights between the two countries for more than a year, this will be the first time that Emirates has operated a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Israel.
Despite the delay in Emirates launching flights to Israel, the Emirates Group has already opened a dedicated Kosher catering facility in Dubai with the capacity to prepare 2,000 Kosher meals per day at launch.
Food produced at the facility is certified by the Kashrut Division of the Orthodox Union (OU) which continues to work in partnership with the South African Union of Orthodox Synagogues.
As well as supplying Kosher meals to the airline industry, the facility will also prepare Kosher certified food across Dubai’s hospitality industry.
Emirates faced a potential block in launching Tel Aviv flights after a rift recently emerged between Dubai’s aviation regulators and Israel’s Shin Bet security services. Dubai had refused to allow Israeli security agents to work in the emirate and provide additional security for El Al Israel Airlines flights, fearing it jeopardised their sovereignty.
Shin Bet had threatened to ban El Al from flying to Dubai over the issue which would also have meant a reciprocal ban on UAE airlines flying from Dubai to Isael. A deal was struck at the eleventh hour and flights continued uninterrupted.
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