Emirates airlines announced on Sunday that it was postponing the launch of its service to Israel because of the outbreak of the Omicron variant and the travel restrictions imposed by Israel.
The first flight was scheduled for December 6 but the company said on Sunday that it would be postponed “until further notice.”
Israel has barred foreigners from entering the country for the coming two weeks and has ordered returning citizens to go into three days of quarantine, pending two negative PCR tests.
“The postponement comes as a result of recent changes in entry protocols issued by the Israeli government,” Emirates said in a statement on Sunday.
“The airline is committed to launching services to Tel Aviv as soon as the situation allows, and will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities in this regard as conditions around entry evolve.”
An airline spokesperson said that the company’s highest priority would be the health and safety of its customers, employees.
The flights are supposed to leave Tel Aviv at 6:25 p.m. and arrive in Dubai at 11:25 p.m. In Dubai, flights will depart at 2:50 p.m. and arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport at 4:25 p.m.
The UAE state-run airline’s festive launch was to be flown with the double-decker Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger jet, but the route will be served with the Boeing 777-300ER that will offer private suites in first class and lie-flat seats in business class.
The new service will join other Tel Aviv-Dubai flights operated by El Al, Israir, Arkia, Etihad and flydubai.