Route Analysis: Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv

Etihad Airways’ first scheduled route to Israel will begin in March.

Nigel Mayes RAM18 resized.jpgNigel Mayes is the senior vice president, consulting and product development at ASM. Nigel has more than 15 years’ experience in route development and is responsible for product development at ASM.

ASM is the world’s leading route development consultancy and has supported the creation of new air services since 1993.



Etihad Airways





Start date:

Mar. 28, 2021


2,107 km

O&D traffic demand (2019):


Annual growth:


Average base fare (2019):


Etihad Airways has become the latest carrier to firm up plans to fly between the UAE and Israel after the two nations established formal ties earlier this year. The airline will begin a daily scheduled year-round route between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Tel Aviv (TLV) from March 28, 2021. Flights will be timed to connect with services to and from China, Thailand, India and Australia, the state-owned carrier said in a statement.

The launch of flights follows the normalization of diplomatic ties between the UAE and Israel in conjunction with the signing of the Abraham Accords in Washington D.C. on Sept. 15. In October, Etihad became the first Gulf Cooperation Council carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from TLV.

“The commencement of scheduled flights is a historic moment and as an airline, cements Etihad’s commitment to growing opportunities for trade and tourism not just between the two countries but also within the region and beyond,” Etihad COO Mohammad Al Bulooki said.

Etihad joins four other carriers in confirming UAE-Israel routes. LCC flydubai will launch direct flights from Dubai (DXB) to TLV this month, while Arkia, El Al Israel Airlines and Israir will start services in December.

O&D traffic between Israel and the UAE totaled 13,486 two-way passengers in 2019, Sabre Market Intelligence data shows, with Amman (AMM), Jordan and then Turkish airports Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) the top three connecting markets.

Photo credit: Joe Pries