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Israeli Airline Arkia Announces Direct Flights to Dubai, UAE Starting January 3

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, file photo, an official stands at the door of an Israeli El Al airliner after it landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The first commercial passenger flight to Israel by a carrier from the United Arab Emirates landed near Tel Aviv on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, further cementing a normalization deal between the two countries. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, file photo, an official stands at the door of an Israeli El Al airliner after it landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The first commercial passenger flight to Israel by a carrier from the United Arab Emirates landed near Tel Aviv on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, further cementing a normalization deal between the two countries. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP, File)

According to the company, the price of flights will start at $149 for a one-way ticket and will cover the distance between Tel Aviv to Dubai in three to four hours.

Arkia, Israel's second-largest airline, has announced direct flight services to Dubai, which will begin from January 3, 2021. The announcement on Tuesday is the first made by an Israeli airline for direct commercial flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since the US-brokers normalization deal signed between the two countries on September 15, The Times of Israel reported.

According to the company, the price of flights, which will start at $149 for a one-way ticket and will cover the distance between Tel Aviv to Dubai in three to four hours.

In a statement, Arkia CEO Oz Berlowitz said: "The decision to start a flight line to Dubai was made after increasing requests from our customers, private business clients and many requests from groups organizing conferences."

Besides Dubai, the airline will also operate to Sharjah, another major city in the UAE, as well as Bahrain. Also on Tuesday, Etihad Airways Flight EY9607, the first commercial shuttle from the UAE to Israel, landed at the Ben-Gurion International Airport outside of Tel Aviv, The Times of Israel reported.

The announcement came a day after the two countries agreed to enable 28 weekly direct flights between their territories.

The flight arrived without passengers but later ferried an Israeli travel and tourism delegation to Abu Dhabi.

On Tuesday, a senior UAE delegation made a landmark visit to Israel, saying it wished to facilitate the reciprocal opening of embassies in Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi "as soon as possible".

first published:October 21, 2020, 13:06 IST