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Israeli, UAE airlines announce codeshare and frequent flyer partnership

Deal between El Al and Etihad comes after first official trip by Israeli foreign minister to Abu Dhabi, Dubai

An Etihad Airways plane carrying a delegation from the United Arab Emirates on a first official visit lands at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, on October 20, 2020. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
An Etihad Airways plane carrying a delegation from the United Arab Emirates on a first official visit lands at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, on October 20, 2020. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The UAE and Israeli flag carriers announced a codeshare cooperation deal on Thursday, the latest sign of deepening ties between the two nations following September’s normalization of diplomatic relations.

The move follows Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit to the UAE this week to inaugurate the Jewish state’s first Gulf embassy in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi.

The airlines said in a statement that they had “launched their joint codeshare network and reciprocal loyalty agreement for frequent flyers.”

“This builds on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the airlines signed in 2020 following the Abraham Accords signed by the UAE and Israel,” it added.

Under the agreement, El Al will sell tickets and offer frequent flier points to its members for the twice-weekly Etihad service between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv from July 18.

Pending regulatory approval, Etihad will then begin to sell tickets for 14 routes operated by El Al as well as offering benefits to its frequent fliers.

“We are very pleased to be able to announce the launch of our codeshare and frequent flyer partnership with El Al,” said Etihad chief executive Tony Douglas.

From oil to tourism to cutting-edge technologies, the two countries hope to benefit from an economic dividend following the normalization agreement.

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