EL AL Will Fly 14x Weekly From Tel Aviv To Dubai

Filed Under: El Al

EL AL has become the latest airline to announce flights between Israel and the UAE, but there are some surprising aspects to this announcement.

This follows normalization of relations between the two countries, which was first revealed back in mid-August. Part of this new cooperation involves an air service agreement, which allows for commercial flights. Etihad and FlyDubai have already announced plans to serve Tel Aviv.

EL AL’s Tel Aviv to Dubai flights

EL AL, the national airline of Israel, will launch 14x weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai as of December 13, 2020. With this service, the airline will offer up to 3x daily flights (the airline isn’t doing a straight 2x daily flights because EL AL doesn’t fly on the Sabbath).

What should we expect from the schedule?

  • 6x weekly flights will be operated by the Boeing 787-9, while 8x weekly flights will be operated by the Boeing 737-900
  • The airline will operate 3x daily flights on Thursdays and Sundays in both directions, and 2x daily flights on most other days (except Fridays and Saturdays, which see a reduced schedule)

EL AL will fly the 787-9 to Dubai 6x weekly

The 1,328 mile flights are blocked at 3hr45min westbound and 3hr5min eastbound (though there are some variations). The flights will be able to use Saudi Arabian airspace, which isn’t something that was possible for flights to & from Israel until recently.

EL AL’s new flights to Dubai are already on sale, for those who would like to book.

What makes EL AL’s new UAE flights interesting

I have several unrelated thoughts about EL AL’s new service to the UAE:

  • It’s interesting to see the airline going all-out on Dubai service, but not yet announcing Abu Dhabi service; EL AL plans to have a partnership with Etihad, so is all of the Abu Dhabi flying being left to Etihad, or is there more to come?
  • There’s a certain irony to EL AL having the best inflight product of any airline to have announced service between the two countries, since many thought the Gulf carriers would be elevating the experience in the market; EL AL 787s have fully flat beds, while FlyDubai 737s and Etihad A321s don’t
  • When EL AL initially flew between the two countries with diplomats onboard, it used a 737 rather than a 787, since only the former plane has anti-missile systems; with EL AL launching 787 flights to the UAE, I guess this is no longer a concern on an ongoing basis
  • While I think it’s fantastic that we’re finally seeing direct flights between Israel and the UAE, am I the only one who is reminded slightly of when the US and Cuba starting allowing flights in terms of how much capacity is being added? Is there really this much demand between the two countries, especially with coronavirus?

EL AL has fully flat beds in business class on the 787

Bottom line

EL AL will start flying to the UAE as of December 2020. The airline will offer 14 weekly flights, and nearly half of those will be operated by 787s. It’s interesting to see that EL AL will be offering both the most capacity and the best product of any airline between the two countries, which I’m sure many of us weren’t expecting.

I am curious to see how demand between the two countries evolves, because I feel like we’re seeing a huge amount of capacity being added off the bat, especially when you consider the travel restrictions currently in place.

What do you make of EL AL’s Dubai service?

  1. I think capacity sounds right for normal times considering how much capacity exists to places like Istanbul consisting of mostly connecting traffic. Dubai will have even more connecting traffic as the connections are better, but will also be a leisure and business destination.

    The problem I see is that right now nobody can get into Israel without a long quarantine, and I don’t think non-citizens can enter at all. I don’t see any indications of that changing any time soon (though certainly hope I’m wrong).

  2. Anyone else think that this is a foolish strategy by El Al? Trying to flood the market with capacity to Dubai. If El Al is successful, no doubt Emirates will just rush in and make it impossible for El Al to return a profit by adding huge capacity, not to mention the added advantages of flying Emirates to Dubai for Emirates connections.

    There is a reason why Turkish flies 8-9 daily flights to TLV and yet El Al can’t even get 1 commercial flight. Exact thing will happen here.

  3. @ Gregg and Ben,

    It is not concerning, simply because it is not true. I have no idea where or how this rumor has started. The parties involved (El Al, chiefly) have not issued a denial, simply because they condider that these topics are best not discussed on travel blogs or in general interest media. This is Security stuff, the least mentioned, the best.

    It should be obvious to all.

  4. Wait…El Al planes (some of them) have “anti-missile” systems on board? And they don’t put diplomats on any of the planes without the anti-missile systems because…?


    Don’t think I’ll be in a big hurry to fly on planes that diplomats choose not to fly on because…what could possibly go wrong?

  5. @Micah, El Al’s absence from Turkey is for another reason – Turkey refuses to allow Israeli security to operate.
    As a result, no Israeli airlines operate flights to Turkey.
    It seems that the UAE is ok with Israeli security.

    If not for this, El Al could certainly get a cut of the Turkish market, though perhaps not a big one. And if can take a cut of the UAE market, though 14/week is indeed a lot.

  6. Have a look at what happened in the Coronavirus in TLV-ATH flights. So many flights and fully booked. Israeli’s love to travel, so I think ELAL learned from that and trying to make it up now.
    BUT, I do think that eventually, after the vaccine, it won’t fly as many flights there, and most of it will be for connections.
    As for @abrar, I looked it up and quite funny but it has one of the cheapest fares, starting at 269$ roundtrip, while flyDubai is starting at 380$.
    And as for @Micah, Istanbul is the biggest connection city for Israelis, most of the flights are for a connection and not to stay in the city, so demand is not as high, and taking into consideration the security reasons, and that Turkish has so many flights because of layovers. ELAL did operate some in the past.

  7. @ Sandy:

    You have NOTHING to worry about. El Al’s security does not depend on the type of aircraft flown or on any specific metal. Period.

  8. Looks like there is so much hype going on with so many flights planned between the two countries, but it’ll be great if the route could really boost.

    Now that Saudi airspace is open to El Al, wonder if they could also allow their existing TLV-Asia routes to fly over the same territory as that will significantly reduce the flight time.

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