Saudi allows Air India overflights to Israel

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

On Wednesday, Air India announced that it has been granted permission to use Saudi Arabian airspace for direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv, which it plans to begin operating three times weekly, later in March.

The statement came hours after Netanyahu revealed that an agreement had been reached during a briefing with Israeli reporters in Washington DC shortly after his meeting with US President Donald Trump.

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

In January, Israeli daily Haaretz said that Saudi authorities had allowed the Indian flag carrier to hold direct flights to Israel through Saudi airspace for the first time.

"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, but could provide no further details. It will depart from New Delhi at 4:50 pm and arrive in Tel Aviv at 8:25 pm. While it is no secret that private jets can fly from Saudi and other Gulf airports to Israel, they could not use the direct route and had to make a stopover in Amman airport first.

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

The airline has reportedly objected to the Air India route, saying the shorter flights over Saudi Arabia put it at an unfair disadvantage.

- Correction: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect title for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have never had official diplomatic relations, and interactions between their governments have taken place only through back channels.

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