El Al Israel Airlines operates first ever flight to UAE

4X-EHD. Photo: © Eric Salard

An El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 737 has taken off from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport on Monday noon, heading to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Flight LY971, operated by the 737-900ER with registration 4X-EHD, is also permitted to fly through normally blocked Saudi Arabian airspace, a landmark achievement for the Israeli airline. This shorter route cuts flight time by hours. On board are delegations from Israel and the United States.

The return service will operate on Tuesday as LY972.

This historic flight, the first ever air route between the two countries, comes not long after Israel and UAE agreed to normalise their political relations. The airline painted a peace logo in both Arabic and Hebrew on the aircraft.

El Al is struggling with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. The airline was forced to let go of most of its employees and temporarily suspend its flight schedule. It is still trying to find financing solutions to ensure liquidity and be able to continue normal, but significantly reduced operations.