Netanyahu: Saudi Arabia to allow overflights to Israel
Netanyahu: Saudi Arabia to allow overflights to Israel
Air India Signs Deal to Fly Over Saudi Arabia On Route To & From Tel Aviv
08 March, 2018, 02:17
Israel's national carrier El Al now operates an India service that takes a detour over the Red Sea to avoid flying over Saudi Arabia and Iran. If the airline is allowed permission to fly over Saudi Arabia, the duration of the flight will come down by about two hours.
The Indian airline's ability to fly over Saudi Arabia would substantially reduce the flight time.
Netanyahu made the announcement in Washington after his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
For 70 years, Saudi airspace has remained closed to Israeli aircraft and to all flights bound for the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
There was no immediate confirmation of the agreement from Saudi Arabia or Air India.
Israel does not have any diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, but it has been a known secret that the two nations have been working covertly to counter their shared security concerns regarding Iran in the wake of the 2015 nuclear accord, which both governments' strongly opposed.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, an Air India spokesperson reacting to Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement said, "We are yet to receive any communication from the Indian regulator".
Washington- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Saudi Arabia has given Air India approval to use its airspace for flights between Israel and India.
In the past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced new flight service connecting Delhi, Mumbai and Tel Aviv when he visited Israel a year ago.
Air India has been now allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia on its new route from New Delhi to Tel Aviv. The Israeli PM is also in talks with the national carrier so that the permission given to Air India would not affect the national carrier economically.
The move is seen as a nod to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's influence in the region, who visited the occupied West Bank on February 10.
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