First Commercial Israeli flight to UAE

The first commercial flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took off from Tel Aviv today. Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman to the Arab media tweeted:

“Today is another historic day in the Middle East as the first commercial Israeli
flight to the UAE took off this morning, on its way to Dubai. Last Thursday,
the first Emirati commercial flight landed at Ben Gurion airport …
Israeli-Emirati relations are getting stronger every day.”

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That flight would not have gone ahead if Israir had not received permission for its aircraft to use the airspace of Saudi Arabia. The necessary permission to use the Kingdom’s airspace for commercial flights to the UAE was received just the day before.

Israir, Arkia and El Al are said to be the Israeli airlines scheduled to make flights to the UAE during the next month. The UAE’s flydubai started operating flights on this route on 26th November.

Commercial relations between the two countries are flourishing quickly; one example being a new office set up in Tel Aviv to support Israeli companies of all sizes and sectors who want to take advantage of the new opportunities that have opened up.

That office was set up in Ramat Gan (a suburb of Tel Aviv) inside the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). It will support Israeli businesses interested in having a presence in the DMCC’s Free Zone. Dubai’s Diamond Exchange (DDE) is in the DMCC along with more than 1,000 companies involved with the diamond trade.

Another example is the agreement signed last week in Abu Dhabi between the UAE Al-Dahra company and Israel’s Watergen, following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in October. This partnership looks to operate within agriculture, offices, apartment buildings and hotels as well as other sectors.

Watergen is a company based in Israel that has developed technology which produces drinking water from the air – something that has obvious attractions in arid countries.

Nor is Bahrain excluded from these developments in commercial links. Its second ministerial delegation in two weeks landed in Israel on Tuesday morning, looking to expand economic ties between the two countries.

The Bahraini Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism will spend three days in Israel with a delegation of around 40 businesspeople. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and four other members of Israel’s cabinet.

Eliav Benjamin, the head of the Arab World Desk at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said:

“The visit is very significant from our perspective.
It is an illustration of what we and what the Bahrainis want
to see in our relations — progress in our cooperation.
This is true normalization between our two countries: trade, commerce,
meetings between delegations and ministers and businesspeople.”