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Israel’s El Al carrier to fly first cargo flight to Dubai

The flight comes as Israel and the UAE are due to hold a US-brokered summit to declare a normalisation accord, widely condemned by the Palestinians
An El Al jet, which carried a US-Israeli delegation to the UAE following a normalisation accord, at the Abu Dhabi airport on 31 August 2020 (AFP)

Israel’s national carrier El Al announced on Thursday that its first cargo flight will fly to Dubai on 16 September, nearly two weeks after the first official direct flight between the two countries landed in Abu Dhabi. 

Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced last month a controversial deal to normalise ties between them, a step that has been denounced by Palestinians as an act of betrayal. 

The cargo flight is scheduled to take off from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, the airlines said in a statement. 

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The flight will fly via Liege in Belgium before continuing to Dubai, El Al said. 

The Boeing 747 aircraft will be carrying "agricultural and high-tech equipment" from Israel to the Emirates, El Al said, with the route set to become a regular weekly fixture in the future, with flights leaving Israel every Wednesday and returning back on Fridays.

"The weekly El Al cargo flight to Dubai will enable Israeli companies connectivity in import and export from and to Dubai, as well as Asia in transfer from Dubai," El Al said.

On Monday an El Al flight from Ben Gurion took a delegation of US and Israeli officials to the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

The direct trip was not only the first commercial flight between the countries, but also the first official flight of the Israeli carrier over Saudi Arabia.

The El Al plane made the same trip back the following day when it returned to Tel Aviv.

The UAE and Israel are expected to sign the US-brokered accord, Israel's first with a Gulf nation and only its third with an Arab state, at the White House in coming weeks.

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