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Saudi Grants Airspace Approval For Flights To Israel

10 March 2018

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 is launching a new flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv, starting on March 22, and has been given permission to use the skies over Saudi Arabia, an Air India spokesperson told CNN.

Israel and India have seen a surge in cooperation under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The airline plans to operate flights between the two destinations on the new route three times a week.

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.

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"We have not received any confirmation".

A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority confirmed Air India has received permission to land at Israel's Ben Gurion airport.

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

Jerusalem Post had reported that after his meeting with US President Donald Trump, Netanyahu said that Air India signed an agreement that day enabling the flights to and from Israel over Saudi Arabia.

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The Saudi government had banned flights headed to Israel from using its airspace for 70 years.

The Air India flights will save flying time due to their shorter route.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official diplomatic ties, like much of the Arab world.

This has been credited to the shakeup of Saudi domestic and foreign policy, spearheaded by the young and ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Saudi Grants Airspace Approval For Flights To Israel