An aircraft belonging to Air India made history, when it flew for the first time to Ben Gurion international Airport in Tel Aviv directly, over Saudi Arabia’s airspace – after the Arab kingdom opened its skies for the first time to commercial flights to Israel. “Well it is a wonderful occasion, it’s been more than 20 years since we had an Air India flight come from India to Israel and so it is a wonderful occasion and I hope this will add to the amazing relationship that we are building with Israel already,” India’s Ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor said.
While Riyadh, which does not have formal relations to Israel, has not confirmed granting the Air India plane overflight rights, its unofficial acceptance of planes flying to, and from, the Jewish state has ended a 70-year-old ban. “This is a historical moment. First time that Air India landing in Israel and first time that the skies of the Jewish land and the most Arab important land, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are connected together through the flight of Air India. And from here, I am sure, and I wish that all the sky will open, including the fact that El Al and the other Israeli aviation companies could fly direct Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries,” Israeli Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said.
That said, there is no indication of Israeli aviation companies applying for the use of Saudi Arabia’s airspace.