Israel’s first commercial flight to the UAE will go ahead as planned on Tuesday morning, taking off from Ben-Gurion Airport to Dubai International Airport, after Saudi Arabia granted permission for the flight to use its airspace with less than a day to spare.
Israeli carrier Israir had feared it would have to cancel the flight due to a lack of Saudi approval, as the Airbus A320 aircraft used for the flight has limited range and the alternate route through the Arabian Sea would double the length of the trip to Dubai.
The historic flight is set to be a cornerstone in the relationship between Israel and the UAE, after the two countries signed the normalization agreement in the form of the Abraham Accords in September.
Israir, Arkia and El Al, the Israeli airlines scheduled to operate flights to the UAE within the next month, had appealed to the Prime Minister's Office, the Transportation Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority for updates on the issue.
Emirati air carrier flydubai began operating flights from Israel to Dubai on November 26.
At a ceremony last week at Ben-Gurion Airport to mark the launch of the flydubai Israel-UAE route, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We are already flying over Saudi Arabia as you know. All those flights go over Saudi Arabia, including flights by Israeli companies."
Israeli airlines are set to operate more than 40 flights to Dubai each week.
Israir is scheduled to launch two daily flights to Dubai on December 2, Arkia is set to begin its own twice daily flights from December 3 and El Al is also due to begin 14 flights per week on December 9.
First published: 18:29, 11.30.20