Direct Air India Flight is all set to operate between Tel Aviv and Delhi over Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has reportedly denied all reports of granting airspace access any Air India Flight travelling to Israel. Sources from the Israeli aviation industry had reportedly conveyed the news of Saudi’s nod to Air India in a statement given to Israeli daily Haaretz. However, Saudi’s GACA later went on to refute all reports calling them untrue.
Is Saudi Arabia Befriending Israel, Appeasing India, for Delhi-Tel Aviv Direct Air India Flight?
Was Air India Was Denied Permission Last Year by Saudi Arabia?
Currently, there is only one airline that operates direct flights between India and Israel. El Al covers a journey of 8 hours from Mumbai to Tel Aviv via the Red Sea. If the reports are true, then Air India would be getting a grant of 750,000 euros from the Tourism Ministry to cover the new route from New Delhi to Tel Aviv. The calculations come down to around 250,000 euros per weekly flight. Last year Air India had approached the Israeli Airport Authority seeking permission to fly to and from Israel. However, the airline insisted on flying a shorter route and thus the Israeli authorities denied permission.
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The communications for the route resumed this year following the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India in January. The relations between India, Israel and Saudi Arabia can be now seen warming up through the confirmation of the New Delhi-Tel Aviv route over Saudi airspace. The Saudi airspace has however been closed to a lot of nations flying to Israel for the last seventy years. In recent times, only two flights are known to have been allowed to cross the Saudi airspace from Saudi to Israel – one with US President George W Bush and another with current President Donald Trump.
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The direct Air India flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv crossing the Saudi airspace could be a sign of PM Narendra Modi’s increasing influence over the region besides warming Israel-Saudi relations. After visiting Israel last month, Indian PM Modi is now expected to visit Jordan and Ramallah next week.