Israel asks for airlines to submits tenders for VIP flight to UAE

Israel asks for airlines to submits tenders for VIP flight to UAE
It follows a controversial normalisation agreement between the UAE and Israel.
2 min read
27 August, 2020
Israeli carriers will compete for the VIP UAE flight [Getty]
Israel will issue tenders for the first flight to the UAE next week, which will include leading Israeli and American officials and cement a normalisation pact between the two countries. 

The first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE follows a normalisation deal agreed on 13 August, the result of years of warming relations and strong encouragement from the US.

The Israeli government is asking local airlines to submit bids for a VIP flight to the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, with flag carrier El Al and rival Israir both submitting bids so far, according to Reuters.
Among the passengers will be President Donald Trump Jared's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, US Middle East Envoy Avi Berkowitz, and US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook.

The Israeli delegation will be led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week.

There are still important logistical questions to answer, such as whether the flight will travel through Saudi airspace. 

Without Saudi approval, which does not recognise Israel, the flight will have to take a much longer route, possibly via the Red Sea.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia did grant approval for Air India flights travelling to Israel to use its airspace, setting a precedent but the UAE normalisation has been a highly sensitive issue in the region.

Despite this, there has been talk of other Arab countries joining the UAE in recognising Israel, which would break a consenus that a Palestinian state must first be established before normalisation is agreed.

This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Arab states tipped to follow the UAE on the issue - such as Oman, Bahrain and Sudan - but no other country has so far followed suit.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected