The new flight route from India to Israel was launched on Thursday, marking the first time in history that a flight to Israel has passed through Saudi Arabia’s airspace.
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For the first time ever, a commercial flight to Israel passed through Saudi Arabia’s airspace on Thursday. Air India’s flight AI139 is expected to land in Israel around 9 p.m. after departing from New Delhi earlier.
The Indian flag carrier has confirmed that it had received the approval of Saudi Arabia to enter its airspace en route to Israel, though the kingdom has refrained from confirming this officially.
The launch of the new flight route was agreed upon during a recent meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism gave Air India a grant of €750,000 for establishing the new route, which will shorten the flight time between India and Israel to seven hours.
Despite reports of secret talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia in recent years, the kingdom still does not recognize Israel formally and had banned Israel from entering its airspace for 70 years.