For the first time in about seven decades ( 70 years) Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to a commercial flight to Israel with the inauguration of an Air India route between New Delhi in India and Tel Aviv in Israel.
This historic moment followed two years of intensive work and negotiation. Using Saudi airspace cuts travel time to India by around two hours and would reduce ticket prices according to Israel Tourism Minister.
The move ended a 70-year-old ban on planes flying to or from Israel through Saudi airspace although it is not clear if the same access will be granted to Israeli Airlines.
Israel’s national carrier El Al, that was excluded from the Saudi route, says its Indian competitor now has an unfair advantage. El Al currently flies four times a week to the Indian city of Mumbai. Those flights take around seven hours and 40 minutes, following a Red Sea route that swings toward Ethiopia to avoid Saudi airspace.