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Saudi gives Air India rights to fly over its territory for Israel routes: Netanyahu

Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel and lifting the 70-year-old airspace ban would reflect what appears to be thawing ties between Israel and the kingdom.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2018 08:42 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
Benjamin Netanyahu,Israel,Air India
Last month, Air India announced the planned thrice-weekly flights to Tel Aviv over Saudi soil, but the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Riyadh said at the time it had not granted such permission to the carrier.(Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Saudi Arabia had granted Air India permission to fly over its territory on its new routes to and from Tel Aviv.

There was no immediate confirmation from either Saudi officials or Air India. Netanyahu made the announcement during a briefing in Washington to Israeli reporters after he had met US President Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel and lifting the 70-year-old airspace ban would reflect what appears to be thawing ties between Israel and the kingdom, both US allies with a shared concern over Iranian influence in the region.

Last month, Air India announced the planned thrice-weekly flights to Tel Aviv over Saudi soil, but the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Riyadh said at the time it had not granted such permission to the carrier.

El Al Israel Airlines , the country’s flag carrier, flies four weekly flights to Mumbai. These take seven hours as they fly south toward Ethiopia and then east to India, avoiding Saudi airspace. Israel media have said that Saudi overflight routes could reduce travel time by more than two hours.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 08:42 IST