The historic El Al first-ever direct commercial flight bearing the US-Israeli peace delegation landed in Abu Dhabi at 2:38 p.m. Israeli time (3:38 p.m. local time).
The flight also made history by flying over Saudi airspace, shortening the flight by almost four hours. “The duration of the flight with the shortened route over Saudi Arabia will be three and a half hours, instead of what would have been approximately eight hours as we fly eastbound,” El Al pilot Tal Becker said prior to takeoff.
“At the end of this historic nonstop flight, the wheels of this aircraft, with the flag of the State of Israel on its tail, will touch down on the runway in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. This will be another significant event in our history, just as El Al was there when peace was signed between Jerusalem, Cairo and Amman.”
— Ariel Kahana אריאל כהנא (@arik3000) August 31, 2020
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) August 31, 2020
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 31, 2020
US President Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner and the head of Israel’s National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat spoke at the reception, with Ben-Shabbat speaking in Arabic.
כעת באבו דאבי- טקס קבלת הפנים למשלחת המדינית של ישראל וארה"ב. ראש המל"ל מאיר בן שבת נאם בשפה הערבית: "הגענו לפה להפוך את החזון למציאות" pic.twitter.com/eMJaUyhJTf
— חדשות הסקופים. (@Haskupim) August 31, 2020
An official reception was held at the Abu Dhabi presidential terminal in the airport upon arrival of the delegation, with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash greeting the arrivals.
Extremely proud to be part of creating history! Waiting in the royal terminal in Abu Dhabi airport for the first direct flight from #Israel to the #UAE.
This is a dream come true for me. I joined the @IsraelMFA 20 years ago to make peace with with our neighbors 🇮🇱❤️🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/JTAvCIGq92
— Lior Haiat 🇮🇱 (@LiorHaiat) August 31, 2020
Making History!! pic.twitter.com/16ZcWhdQY2
— Dor Shapira (@ShapiraDor) August 31, 2020
Meanwhile, as Israel media reported on the historical flight from the view of the Jewish state, Emirati media documented the event from their perspective.
Local coverage of El Al Flight 971 landing in Abu Dhabi after flying over Saudi Arabia. No words … just letting the moment sink in. pic.twitter.com/wDEAlOKY0u
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) August 31, 2020
Emirati press covering the arrival of first-ever Israeli plane landing in Abu Dhabi pic.twitter.com/e1a121QFm7
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) August 31, 2020
היסטוריה בהתגלמותה. שידור ישיר של הטלוויזיה באמירויות. pic.twitter.com/xKKV4eDkhb
— Anna Rayva-Barsky (@AnnaBarskiy) August 31, 2020
נחיתת מטוס אל-על: שידור ישיר בערוץ אבו דאבי pic.twitter.com/7ep7RRzFa4
— Jacky Hugi (@JackyHugi) August 31, 2020
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)