MIAMI – El Al Israel Airlines (LY) and Etihad Airways (EY) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enter a partnership together. Both carriers are aiming to increase cooperation with cargo operations, engineering, and Pilot and Cabin Crew training. Possibilities for a codesharing agreement will also be explored.

The partnership is a monumental one, as it comes just two months after Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a treaty to normalize country relations. Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of EY, calls it “the foundation of what we envision will be a strong ongoing relationship between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.”

EY announced three days ago that it will begin year-round flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) on March 28, 2021.

LY has yet to make any comments on launching flights to the UAE. However, two smaller Israeli carriers plan to begin nonstop service to Dubai within the coming months. Those are Arkia Israeli Airlines (IZ) in January 2021 and Israir Airlines (6H) in December.

Etihad Airways Airbus A380-800. Photo: Lars Hentschel via Wikimedia

El Al’s Historic Flight to the UAE


Back in August, El Al completed the first-ever direct flight between Israel and the UAE. ‘Peace Flight 971’ departed TLV, flew through Saudi Arabian airspace and landed at AUH. It was operated by a Boeing 737-800 and carried delegations from the United States and Israel. The flight was also a stepping stone towards the partnership between LY end EY.

“Following the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, we have been provided a great opportunity to examine the possibility of cooperation with Etihad Airways,” says Gonen Usishkin, Chief Executive Officer of EL AL.

“This MOU is only the start and we believe that together, the two flag carriers will be able to provide our mutual customers with the best possible product and service. Already, the common goals we have outlined speak for the success of our future cooperation.”


Featured image: El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: JacobAviation via Wikimedia

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