A flydubai plane touched down Sunday in Israel for the first time, ahead of the state-owned Emirati airline’s launch of direct flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai.
The flight, which was chartered, was set to ferry a group of 170 businessmen and other Israelis to the United Arab Emirates.
It landed in Dubai hours later.
The plane was not greeted with the pomp that is customary when an airline makes its first trip to Ben Gurion Airport, with the Transportation Ministry saving the celebrations until the official launch of the Tel Aviv-Dubai route on November 26, according to the Ynet news site.
— إسرائيل في الخليج (@IsraelintheGulf) November 8, 2020
The Emirati budget airliner announced last week that it would offer twice-daily flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai, days after Abu Dhabi gave its final okay to a visa exemption program with Israel.
The agreement still must be ratified by the Israeli cabinet and Knesset before it enters into force. The Knesset last month approved Israel’s normalization deal with the UAE by an overwhelming majority, all but ensuring that the visa program will be confirmed in the near future.
Despite that, with a few exceptions, non-Israeli tourists are currently not permitted to enter Israel under coronavirus restrictions, although the UAE is classified as a “green” country under Health Ministry’s regulations, meaning that travelers returning to Israel are not required to quarantine.