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Israel-UAE deal: El Al airlines set to fly historic flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi

The national carrier will operate Israel's first commercial flight to the UAE on Monday, according to a timetable on Israel airport authority's website
El Al planes at Tel Aviv airport
El Al is set to operate Israel's first commercial flight to Abu Dhabi on Monday, which is expected to carry an Israeli delegation and US officials (AFP)

El Al airlines will operate Israel's first commercial flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday, as the two countries move ahead with a deal to normalise ties. 

A timetable on the Israeli airport authority's website showed the scheduled flight by Israel's national air carrier, which will depart from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport for the UAE's political capital of Abu Dhabi. 

The direct flight is expected to carry an Israeli delegation and US officials, to further cement ties between Israel and the UAE. 

El Al airlines scheduled flight to Abu Dhabi
Timetable on the Israel Airport Authority's website shows a scheduled El Al flight from Ben Gurion Airport to Abu Dhabi on 31 August (Screengrab)

An aviation source told Reuters that El Al and smaller Israeli rival Israir had both submitted bids for the historic flight. 

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The flight number is listed as "LY971" on the online timetable, perhaps alluding to the UAE's country code, which is 971.

There are no official air links between Israel and the UAE, and it was unclear whether an Israeli airliner would be able to fly over Saudi Arabia, which has no official ties with Israel, to cut down on the flight time.

A US government source confirmed that officials, including Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, would be on the El Al flight departing from Tel Aviv on 31 August at 10am (7am GMT).

The exact flight route and landing time were still being worked on, the US official said.

In May, an Etihad Airways plane flew from the UAE to Tel Aviv to deliver coronavirus supplies to the Palestinians, marking the first known flight by a UAE carrier to Israel.

The Israel-UAE deal is awaiting negotiations on details such as opening embassies, trade and travel links before it is officially signed.

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