It looks like Emirates is planning on launching flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv as of next month.
This follows normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which was first revealed in August 2020. Part of this new cooperation involves an air service agreement, which allows for commercial flights. EL AL, Etihad, and FlyDubai, among others, have already either announced or launched nonstop flights between the two countries.
Emirates will fly to Tel Aviv by February 2021
There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not Emirates would actually launch nonstop flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv. The reason for the speculation is that FlyDubai operates several daily frequencies between the two airports, and the airline is also owned by the government of Dubai.
The two airlines cooperate closely, and there aren’t many markets that are served by both FlyDubai and Emirates.
FlyDubai already flies to Tel Aviv
Globes is now reporting that Emirates will be launching daily nonstop flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv as of February 15, 2021. The airline has allegedly received slots from the Israel Airports Authority.
The website of Ben Gurion Airport even already shows Emirates on its arrivals and departures board as of February 15, showing that EK931 will land in Israel daily at 4:25PM, and EK932 will depart from Israel daily at 6:25PM (the other flights listed are codeshare flights, and it should also be Emirates Airline rather than Emirates Airways).
Ben Gurion Airport’s website already lists Emirates
Flights between the two countries will be allowed to use airspace of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, significantly cutting down travel time compared to the circuitous routing that would otherwise be needed.
Emirates hasn’t yet officially announced this route, though I’d be surprised if this wasn’t made official in the next week or two at the latest.
Emirates is expected to start flying to Tel Aviv
Emirates’ kosher catering facility in Dubai
In September 2020 it was announced that Emirates Flight Catering is launching Kosher Arabia, a dedicated kosher food production facility at the company’s facility in the UAE.
This is the first catering facility in the UAE to become a registered and certified producer of kosher food. While Emirates Flight Catering previously offered kosher meals, this was done via an outsourced supplier, and that will now be brought in-house, with production expected to start in early 2021.
As Saeed Mohammed, CEO of Emirates Flight Catering, said:
“We are delighted to enter into an agreement with CCL to provide Kosher food. For many years, EKFC has been offering kosher meals primarily to our airline customers, via an outsourced supplier overseas. We’ve been watching the global trends for kosher food, and with recent developments we expect that demand for kosher food in the UAE and region will grow quickly. Our partnership will cover all food channels and we will also explore opening restaurants across Dubai and the GCC.
By setting up our own capability at EKFC to produce kosher food, we are confident that we can better serve our customers not only in the aviation sector, but also in the hospitality, F&B, and events sector including the upcoming Expo 2020. Making freshly prepared meals here in the UAE gives us better control over meal design and quality assurance.”
Emirates is bringing kosher catering in-house
While there hasn’t been an official announcement yet from Emirates, it seems highly likely that the airline will start flying between Dubai and Tel Aviv in February 2021. The airline has requested permission with authorities in Israel, and the expect flight numbers and times already show on Ben Gurion Airport’s website.
It looks like we’ll see both Emirates and FlyDubai offering flights between the two cities — there aren’t many markets where that’s the case. Based on everything I’ve seen, flights between Israel and the UAE have been a huge success so far, which explains why this is a market where both airlines can coexist.
Are you surprised to see Emirates add flights to Tel Aviv, complementing FlyDubai’s service?