Netanyahu: Saudi Gives Air India Overflight Rights for Its Israel Routes

Laura Christensen
March 7, 2018

Israel's Ministry of Tourism will approve a one-time grant of 750,000 euros to Air to launch the flight service, an official said in Jerusalem last month.

In an unprecedented and historic move, Saudi Arabia will provide full access to its airspace for Star Alliance member Air India, on its commercial flight to Tel Aviv. Then, sources from within Air India had confirmed that permission to use Saudi airspace for flights to Israel was coming soon.

"We have not received any confirmation".

"Air India signed an agreement today to fly to Israel over Saudi Arabia", Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel.

For 70 years, Saudi airspace has remained closed to Israeli aircraft and to all flights bound for the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

But Air India said on Tuesday that while it had issued such a request, the regulator had yet to give it a positive answer.

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Interacting with reporters after his meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Netanyahu said that Air India had signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to use its airspace.

So far Saudi Arabia has not allowed planes from any country to fly over it and go to Israel. Air India had earlier announced to start direct flight between Delhi and Tel Aviv. While it is no secret that private jets can fly from Saudi and other Gulf airports to Israel, they could not use the direct route and had to make a stopover in Amman airport first.

The prime minister, who visited India in January, acknowledged the agreement could hurt El Al.

Netanyahu said that Saudi Arabia has not granted overfly permission to Israeli national carrier El Al, which operates four weekly flights to Mumbai.

If Saudi Arabia were to ease its airspace regulations it could be seen as concrete evidence of warming relations with Israel and a broader re-configuring of regional alliances.

Other reports by My Hot News

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