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Riyadh grants Air India overflight rights for Israel routes: Netanyahu

Air India announced that the new flight route would begin operation in March [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 March, 2018

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In a further sign of thawing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Riyadh reportedly gives the green light for Air India's new fight route to Tel Aviv over Saudi airspace.

Saudi Arabia has granted permission to Air India to fly over its airspace on its new routes to the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Netanyahu disclosed the information to reporters after meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington.
Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have any official diplomatic relations, and the current airspace ban has been in effect for 70 years. If true, the news could be the first public sign of warming relations between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are both opponents of Iranian influence in the region.

Air India announced its new flight route from to Tel Aviv over Saudi airspace last month, however the General Authority of Civil Aviation in the Saudi Capital was quick to announce that permission for the route had not yet been given.

The Indian airliner plans to fly the route three times a week.

Israel's Airports Authority said in February that the planned flights would begin this month.

Due to Israel and Saudi Arabia's lack of official diplomatic ties, Israel's national airliner, El Al, currently takes a longer route from Tel Aviv to Mumbai in order to avoid the kingdom's airspace.

According to reports, the new route planned by Air India could reduce flight time by up to two hours.

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