Initially, the Israeli plane flew over Saudi airspace to a non-Gulf destination

The first ever commercial Israeli flight over Saudi airspace departed for a non-Gulf destination after midnight on Tuesday, with the new route cutting the flight time by 20 minutes.

Arkia flight IZ611 departed from Ben Gurion Airport just after 01:15 and was due to land six hours later in the Seychelles on the coast of East Africa.

In a statement before the flight, Arkia’s chief pilot Dean Gal said: “Tonight the Arkia aircraft will become the first licensed Israeli aircraft to fly over Saudi Arabia – not to Dubai, but to the Seychelles. The road will pass through. Jordan is in the Dead Sea area and turns left to Petra, continues along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, from there it will continue its usual route through Eritrea…Soon we hope to make shorter trips to India and Sri to see Lanka.”

Since the normalization agreements in the 2020 Abraham Accords, Saudi Arabia has allowed Israeli airlines to use its airspace for flights to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. However, this approval did not extend to inbound and outbound flights to other destinations until last month as part of a multilateral agreement to transfer control of the two Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia brokered by the Biden administration.

This agreement was reached during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, where Washington and Jerusalem framed the Saudi decision to open its airspace to all commercial flights as a first step towards normalization with Israel , as no other country has prevented it. tours, then.

But Riyadh has sought to throw cold water on the idea, insisting its decision has nothing to do with Israel, and is more related to its geopolitical goals than a prelude to normalizing relations with Jerusalem.

But Israeli and US officials are unconvinced by the general Saudi position, insisting that Riyadh is merely trying to placate a domestic public wary of warmer ties with the Jewish state.

However, Jerusalem expected Oman to follow suit, opening entirely new avenues to destinations in the Far East, such as India and Thailand – popular vacation spots for Israelis. Using Saudi and Omani airspace to reach these destinations will cut travel time by two to four hours, and potentially lower ticket prices, as airlines will save money on fuel.

But Omani approval has yet to come, with Hebrew media reporting that Muscat was under pressure from neighboring Iran not to grant it.

It’s not (only) about you.

Supporting The Times of Israel is not a transaction for an online service, such as a Netflix subscription. The ToI community is for people like you who care for the sake of allEnsures that balanced and responsible coverage of Israel continues to be available for free to millions around the world.

Sure, we’ll remove all ads from your page and only unlock access to great community content. But your support gives you something deeper than that: the pride of joining Something really important.

Join the Times of Israel community

Join our community

Already a friend? Sign in to stop seeing it

You are a loyal reader

That’s why we started The Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide smart readers like you with must-see coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So far we have a request. Unlike other news tools, we have not set up a paywall. But because the journalism we do is so expensive, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining Society Times Israel.

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel ad freeas well as access EXCLUSIVE CONTENT Only available to members of the Times of Israel community.

Thank you,
David Horowitz, founding editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community

Join our community

Already a friend? Sign in to stop seeing it

Leave a Comment