Flights will start March 28 and will be timed to connect with Etihad services to and from China, Thailand, India and Australia, the state-owned carrier said in a statement."Etihad is delighted" about the "direct link between these important cities," said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operation Officer of Ethiad Aviation Group. This announcement of scheduled flights "is a historic moment [for us] as an airline, and cements Ethiad's commitment to growing opportunities for trade and tourism, not just between the two countries but also within the region and beyond," he added.
The announcement comes as the aviation industry faces its worst-ever crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has wrecked air travel demand.
Etihad has slashed jobs and pushed forward with plans to shrink into a mid-sized carrier focuing on carrying passengers to and from Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi does not allow non-residents to enter the emirate at its airport, and has not said when that coronavirus-related restriction would be lifted.
Neighboring Dubai allows foreign visitors to enter, however.
State-owned flydubai will launch direct flights to Tel Aviv this month, while Dubai's airport operator has said that Israel's El Al, Israir and Arkia will start Tel Aviv-Dubai services in December.Etihad, flydubai and El Al have operated charter services between the UAE and Israel in recent months.