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  • Writer's pictureIsrael Gulf Report

Netanyahu welcomes first commercial Fly Dubai flight from Dubai

November 26 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the first Fly Dubai flight to Israel on a Thursday afternoon. The flight had left Dubai around 9am and arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport at 12:30. Khaleej news in the UAE covered the flight, posting video from the tarmac. It was an unusually rainy day. The Boeing 737 was watched in the UAE and Israel as it made its historic journey.

At the airport Netanyahu and Ofer Malka of the Israel Ministry of Transport, the CEO and COO of fly Dubai, Shmuel Zakai of BGI and the chairman of Open sky attended the arrival. It was history in the making the speakers said. The first offspring from the decision was the decision by Fly Dubai to offer three daily services.

Netanyahu welcomed the attendees. Netanyahu said this was a moment of history. "You can only be first once. This is a pivotal moment. We are changing history. We are flying with breakneck speed into a new era that is changing the Middle East." He talked about the enthusiasm and the multitude of tourists who would soon travel. He highlighted hi-tech, energy, health and the environment and "human creativity" that would be unlocked by the new relations. "We are making up for a lot of lost time. One thing that see without any trace of cynicism, there is enormous enthusiasm of our people's for this."

Netanyahu, speaking in English and then in Hebrew, said that the new ties to the east would change Israel, Bahrain and the UAE and the Israeli Prime Minister said the world was taking notice. "History in the making, you are first. Welcome, come back again and again and again."

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at Fly Dubai, also spoke at the event. He praised the leadership of Dubai and the UAE for its vision, having transformed the Emirates from a desert to a thriving area. He also said Fly Dubai would work to build the future, "hopefully this would be the light that will shine and make the whole region stronger and more peaceful." Visas for travelers from the Gulf appeared to still be an issue. In a previous discussion about the first flights he was quoted as saying: “since the launch of Fly Dubai 11 years ago, we have been committed to removing barriers to travel, creating free flows of trade and tourism and enhancing connectivity between different cultures across our network. Following the recent bilateral agreement, the start of scheduled flights will contribute to economic development and create further opportunities for investment in pursuit of our shared interests and values. With the start of services there will be the option for increased accessibility to the UAE as well as onwards to the Indian Ocean, Far East and Africa reducing total journey times by several hours.” The flight was covered at Ynet and in the UAE.

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