Following the historical direct flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his next goal is to cut the flight time between Israel’s financial capital, Tel Aviv, and its Indian counterpart to five hours.

PM Netanyahu

PM Netanyahu Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a direct Air India flight from Israel to India is only the beginning. “What we have done here is a breakthrough for vast new markets, making a huge difference,” he said during the weekly cabinet meeting while praising everyone involved in this development.

In reference to the inaugural flight that flew over Saudi Arabia landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday, Netanyahu added: “The significance of this is obvious to everyone. This has a touristic, economic, technological and political first-rate significance.”

The Israeli Prime Minister also said, “The goal, which I hope to achieve, is that the next flight or flights, will be direct flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv in five hours, which is less than the time between Tel Aviv and London. This would make a great difference.”

Netanyahu also praised those involved in making this advancement possible, saying: “First of all, I would like to thank all the people who have accompanied me for several years to make this happen, first and foremost, Yitzhak Molcho [chief negotiator in the negotiating team with the Palestinians on behalf of the Israeli Prime Minister], Yariv Levin [Israeli minister of tourism], Eli Gruner [director general of the prime minister’s office] and of course, Yisrael Katz [minister of intelligence and minister of transportation] and the Civil Aviation Authority. These things have developed over time and are creating tremendous potential for the State of Israel.”

“I also ask that we thank Meir Ben Shabat [national security advisor] for his assistance with Air India,” Netanyahu added. “Your predecessor also assisted us and deserves praise. It has been a long operation, most of it behind closed doors, and it is preferred that it stays that way for now, but I thank you, Meir, for the important task that you carried out.”

Currently, a flight between Israel and Mumbai takes eight hours due to a Saudi ban prohibiting Israeli commercial flights from using its airspace.