Benjamin Netanyahu says Saudi Arabia to open airspace to India-Israel flights

An Air India aircraft takes off from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad India

An Air India aircraft takes off from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad India

The move ends a decades-long ban by Saudi Arabia on the use of its airspace for flights to Israel.

El Al Israel Airlines has appealed to the United Nations over a bid to reroute its services between Tel Aviv and India through Saudi Arabian airspace.

India's national carrier Air India on Wednesday began selling direct five-hour flights between Delhi and Israel's Ben-Gurion worldwide airport.

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

Flying through Saudi airspace will cut the Delhi-Tel Aviv journey time by about two hours, an Air India spokesman said.

"We have not received any confirmation".


Mr. Netanyahu discussed the launch of direct Air India flights to Israel with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while on a state visit to India in January. "We have yet to receive anything from authorities", Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar told i24NEWS on Tuesday.

Air India is charging about $700 return fare for its new Tel Aviv - Delhi route.

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.

El Al has asked the Israeli government and worldwide organizations to ensure that El Al will also be allowed to fly to India on the shorter route, or alternatively that Air India will be compelled to take the current route that El Al is permitted.

"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.

Latest News