Israel’s El Al Airlines, UAE’s Etihad explore cooperation, including joint codeshares

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El Al Israel Airlines and Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national airline, said on Thursday they signed a deal to explore deeper cooperation such as joint codeshares between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv and other destinations.

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Israel and the UAE agreed in September to establish diplomatic relations, breaking a longstanding taboo, and paving the way for economic cooperation.

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El Al and Etihad said the memorandum of understanding aimed for greater commercial cooperation in various areas such as cargo, engineering and pilot and cabin crew training facilities.

Read more: First plane with Israeli tourists lands in UAE after normalization deal

Etihad has said it intends to start daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv starting on March 28, 2021.

Etihad chief executive Tony Douglas said the deal “is the foundation of what we envision will be a strong ongoing relationship between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.”

El Al has not yet announced flights to the UAE although smaller Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir have said they would launch flights to Dubai next month.

Israir has already applied for permission to offer services between Dubai and Bahrain, with a plan to provide combined trips to the two countries. Israir will launch its Bahrain route in January.

El Al separately said it would restart flights three times a week to Newark, New Jersey in the United States on December 1 in addition to its flights to JFK Airport in New York. It will also resume flights to Moscow on November 26.

Israel’s borders to foreigners are still closed but El Al has already resumed flights to New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Zurich, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Athens and Kiev for Israeli citizens.

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