Aug 28, 2020 - World

Israel lists first commercial flight to UAE

An El Al 737. Photo: Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Israel’s airport authority on Friday listed the departure of a commercial Israeli airliner to the United Arab Emirates on its planned schedule for the first time.

Why it matters: The milestone flight is another sign of progress in the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between the two countries that was announced two weeks ago.

  • El Al Flight 971 — the international calling code for the UAE — operated by a Boeing 737 will depart Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport at 10 a.m. Israel time on Monday, flying directly to Abu Dhabi through Saudi airspace.

The plane will include several delegations:

  • A U.S. team led by President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner will also include national security adviser Robert O’Brien, White House envoy Avi Berkowitz and U.S. envoy for Iran Brian Hook.
  • An Israeli team led by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat will also include the director-generals of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health.
  • A group of Israeli and American reporters are also expected to be on the plane to cover the flight as well as talks between the U.S. and Israeli teams with Emirati officials.

What’s next: The Israeli delegation is expected to have technical talks with the Emirati government on Monday and Tuesday regarding a set of bilateral agreements for the opening of embassies, direct flights and visas.

  • Those talks will also set the stage for an official signing ceremony at the White House in several weeks.
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