(JNS) – Israelis can now purchase tickets on the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier, Etihad Airways, to destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Australia and elsewhere, following the U.S.-brokered normalization treaty between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.
The flights offered to Israelis will not take off from Tel Aviv, however, but from Abu Dhabi, Israel’s business daily Globes reported on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
According to the report, Etihad Airways is represented in Israel by TAL Aviation.
TAL Aviation vice president Nissim Sagis said: “In recent weeks, we have seen a rise in demand in Israel and a return of the desire to travel. We are excited about cooperating with our new partners, Etihad, and to offer Israeli travelers Etihad’s renowned service experience to Abu Dhabi and other destinations on its international flight network.”
A senior aviation industry source told the Globes, “The entry of airlines from the UAE into Israel represents a great danger to Israeli aviation, and particularly to El Al. Even before the crisis and before the change that will arise from the signing of the agreement with the UAE, the Israeli airlines lost money when the Open Skies policy came into full effect.”
The source added: “Unlike the case of the Israeli airlines, the governments of the Gulf states and the Emirates pour money into various industries, aviation among them. They set up amazing companies and built new airports, with the low price of fuel available to them serving them well. The aim they set for themselves was to conquer the world and grow their market share in aviation in other countries as well. The hubs they have at their airports link every continent. It’s an excellent location for flights to Australia, to the Far East and to Africa, which means that El Al, and airlines like Turkish Airlines which fly to these destinations, should be worried, not just about the excellent product of the airlines from the UAE, but also about the fares they offer.”