First direct tourist flight from Tel Aviv to Dubai takes off

"The mission to carry out the first flight was not simple, but we proved that nothing's impossible. If we decide to do something and invest in it, it's possible."

General view of the exterior of the Dubai mall, May 3, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/ABDEL HADI RAMAHI)
General view of the exterior of the Dubai mall, May 3, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ABDEL HADI RAMAHI)
The first tourist flight directly from Tel Aviv to Dubai took off on Sunday from Ben-Gurion Airport, after an Israeli and an Emirati businessman joined together to organize a charter flight through the Dubai-based airline carrier flydubai.
Some 174 businessmen and tourists flew on flight FZ8194 over Saudi airspace in the historic flight, according to Makor Rishon.
The flight included government officials, representatives of the flight and tourism industries and Israeli businessmen, according to IAS.
The tour was organized and tickets were sold within three days by Emirati businessman Jacob Saba and the Israeli Gaya Tours company.
The tour package cost about $2,000 and includes a flight and four night stay at Hyatt hotels, which will provide kosher breakfasts for the first time.
"The mission to carry out the first flight was not simple," said Saba. "But we proved that nothing's impossible. If we decide to do something and invest in it, it's possible. This flight came to be because of a decision and faith in ourselves and God."
Flydubai announced on Saturday that, starting November 26, 14 flights a week between the United Arab Emirates and Israel will be made available for passengers to visit the Emirates from Israel and vice-a-versa – two a day.
The flydubai flight follows the first Etihad Airways commercial flight which transported a travel trade mission in October as well as an El Al flight which marked the first commercial flight directly between the UAE and Israel. The flight on Sunday was the first direct flight for regular tourists.
Israel's Transportation Ministry agreed in October to sign an aviation deal with the Emirates for 28 weekly flights from Ben-Gurion Airport to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the first flights scheduled to embark within weeks.
According to the agreement, there will be 28 weekly passenger flights between the Emirati cities and Ben-Gurion Airport, as well as unlimited charter flights between the Emirates and the Ramon airport in Eilat. In addition, 10 weekly cargo flights between the countries will be allowed.
The cabinet approved the normalization deal between Israel and the UAE in October. The peace documents between Israel the Emirates and Bahrain are known as the “Abraham Accords,” and as such, highlight interfaith tolerance.
On the practical level, the parties agreed to establish peace, diplomatic relations and normalization, to exchange ambassadors and open embassies, and cooperate in finance and investment, civil aviation, consular services, innovation trade and economic relations, as well as healthcare, science, technology, “peaceful uses of outer space,” education and more.

Zachary Keyser, Lahav Harkov and Idan Zonshine contributed to this report.