Friday, February 22nd, 2019
header

Israel-bound Air India flight makes history by using Saudi airspace

Saudi Arabia opened its airspace for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel with the inauguration Thursday of an Air India route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.

Air India 139 landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport after a flight of over 7.5 hours, marking a diplomatic shift for Riyadh that Israel says was fuelled by shared concern over Iranian influence in the region.



“This is a really historic day that follows two years of very, very intensive work,” Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said in a radio interview, adding that using Saudi airspace cut travel time to India by around two hours and would reduce ticket prices.

Saudi Arabia – the birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest shrines – does not recognize Israel.

Riyadh has not formally confirmed granting the Air India plane overflight rights. While the move ended a 70-year-old ban on planes flying to or from Israel through Saudi airspace, there is as yet no indication that it will be applied to any Israeli airline.

The Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner entered Saudi airspace at around 1645 GMT and overflew the kingdom at 40,000 feet for about three hours, coming within 60 km (37 miles) of the capital Riyadh, according to the Flightradar monitoring app. It then crossed over Jordan and the occupied West Bank into Israel.



The airliner had earlier flown over Oman, according to Flightradar. Officials from Oman, which also does not recognize Israel, could not be reached for comment.

Israel’s flag carrier El Al, excluded from the Saudi route, says its Indian competitor now has an unfair advantage.

El Al currently flies four times a week to the Indian city of Mumbai. Those flights take around seven hours and 40 minutes, following a Red Sea route that swings toward Ethiopia to avoid Saudi airspace.

If El Al planes were to fly on to New Delhi, a destination El Al has said it might be interested in, they would require another two hours – and significantly more fuel.

Interviewed on Israel’s Army Radio, Levin voiced confidence that El Al would eventually be allowed to use Saudi airspace.



“You know, they said the Saudis wouldn’t let any flight pass. So here, the Saudis are permitting it. It is a process, I think. Ultimately this (El Al overflights) will happen too,” he said.

Asked if any other foreign airlines might follow Air India by opening routes to Tel Aviv over Saudi Arabia, Levin said he has been in negotiations with Singapore Airlines and a carrier from the Philippines, which he did not name.

“They are certainly showing readiness and desire to fly to Israel, and I don’t know if they will also receive permission like the Indian airline,” he said.

Singapore Airlines did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Saudi officials could not immediately be reached.



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Wararka xiga

Qalbi aniga waaye: Qiso naxdina oo walaalkeen qabsatey

February, 21, 2019
naxdinWarsame magaciisa saxda ah maaha waa shaqaale ka ...

Muuse Biixi oo loo sheegay inu la shaqeeyo dawlada dhexe

February, 21, 2019
Madaxa maamulka Somaliland oo looga yeetay Itoobiya,ayaa loo ...

Amisom oo laga saarayo xeradii tababarka ciidanka ee Jaalle Siyaad

February, 20, 2019
Ciidanka Afrikaanka ah ee guusha ka keenay la ...

Maxay ka wada hadleen madaxweyne Ismaaciil Cumar iyo Farmaajo

February, 20, 2019
 Madaxweyne Farmaajo ayaa ku sugan caasimada Jabuuti halkaas ...

Maxaa ka jira in Farmaajo Muuse Biixi kula kulmayo Itoobiya

February, 20, 2019
Waxa baryahan jirey warar sheegaya in raiisal wasaaraha ...

Dhacdooyinka

Ilhaan Cumar oo jawaab kulul siisay xagjir Trump

February, 14, 2019
Xildhibaanada laga soo doorto Minasoota ee dalkaasi Maraykanka ...

Muwaadin waxqabad dhaba lagu yaqaaney oo xil la wareegay gobolka Awdal

February, 13, 2019
Dr Maxamed Xaaji Cumar Yaabe oo dad badan ...

Puntland oo ogaatey halka argagixisada dilalka fulisaa isku qariso

February, 13, 2019
Masuuliyiinta Puntland ayaa sheegtay inay ogaadeen halka argagixisada ...

Siyaasi Cali Faarax oo si adag uga hadley dhalinta xustey xasuuqii SNM ee Awdal lagu xirey

February, 12, 2019
Siyaasi Cali Faarax Cabdullaahi ayaa si adag uga ...

Saldhiga Imaaraadka aan Berbera ka siinay kiro maaha: Somaliland

February, 9, 2019
Waxa ilaa in muddo ah soo socotey sheekada ...

Dawlada Somaliya oo dacwad la fuushey maraakiib shisheeye

February, 8, 2019
Dawlada Somaliya ayaa dacwad la fuushey maraaiib ajaaniba ...

Boorama oo laga xusey maalinta madow ee 4-ta Feeberweri ee xasuuqii SNM

February, 4, 2019
Maalintan madow ayaa SNM oo wadata askartii Mingeste ...