Air India granted Saudi transit rights for Israel route

Air India granted Saudi transit rights for Israel route

Air India granted Saudi transit rights for Israel route

The statement came hours after Netanyahu revealed that an agreement had been reached during a briefing with Israeli reporters in Washington DC shortly after his meeting with US President Donald Trump.

But until Tuesday, March 7, an Air India spokesperson maintained that "we haven't yet received any communication about it from the regulator". As an Israeli carrier, El Al is not permitted to fly over Saudi Arabia, adding two hours to flights to India.

The new Israel-India route was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Israel in July.

A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority confirmed Air India has received permission to land at Israel's Ben Gurion airport, but could provide no further details.

Israel's flagship airline has appealed to the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization, requesting that its flights to New Delhi be allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia. It will depart from New Delhi at 4:50 pm and arrive in Tel Aviv at 8:25 pm.

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Air India has not published when it would begin its flights to Tel Aviv, with media speculating they were due to start later in March.

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

The move by the Saudis would give Air India "a significant and unfair advantage" over El Al, Gonen Usishkin, the CEO of Israel's largest carrier, wrote in a letter, addressed to ICAO head, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu.

Air India launched the ticket sale for the first flights that will travel on the route for about $300 one way yesterday.

"The political changes in Saudi Arabia and the desire to consolidate power are the main reason why these relations with Israel were opened", Mahjoob Zweiri, an associate professor in the Gulf Studies Program at Qatar University, had previously told Al Jazeera.

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