Dubai’s Emirates waiting for approval to start Israel flights after peace deal: COO

An Emirates Airline Airbus A380-800 plane takes off from Dubai International Airport in Dubai, UAE. (File photo: Reuters)

Dubai’s Emirates airline is waiting for an aviation agreement before flights to Israel can begin following the historic peace deal announced last week between the UAE and Israel, the airline’s COO said.

“It’s an agreement between the two governments and definitely there will be many other sectors within business that will be benefiting from such an agreement, obviously aviation will be one of the main sectors. But before we plan any flights to between here Israel or Tel Aviv an agreement needs to be put in place between the two cities,” Adel al-Redha, chief operating officer of Emirates told CNBC Thursday.

Israel and the UAE reached a historic peace deal last week that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in an agreement that US President Donald Trump helped broker. Some business and communication agreements have already passed, including collaboration on a coronavirus vaccine and restoration of phone lines between the two nations.

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Direct flights have yet to be announced, but are part of the overall deal. Israel’s foreign ministry has also told Al Arabiya English that the country will likely not stamp passports of tourists traveling to Israel from the UAE – an important move as Israel stamping a UAE passport would be significant as certain Arab countries, such as Lebanon, place entry restrictions on people with Israeli stamps in their passports.

“I think demand will come from both sides of the region, and there will be quite a lot of opportunity for trading and business between the two cities and two countries,” al-Redha added.

When reached for comment, an Emirates spokesperson told Al Arabiya English that the opening of any new route requires air traffic rights and government approvals.

“Once those are in place, Emirates will review market demand and a range of operational factors before making any decision to start flight services. With regards to new destinations, we have nothing further to announce at this time,” the spokesperson said.

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Last Update: Thursday, 20 August 2020 KSA 14:25 - GMT 11:25
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