Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today hoped that Israel’s national carrier El Al could soon start direct flights from Tel Aviv to Mumbai using Saudi airspace.
Prime Minister made this remarks after Air India’s maiden flight on Thursday to Israel landed in Tel Aviv, reducing the travel time substantially after Saudi Arabia for the first time allowed a commercial flight to use its airspace.
El Al currently has four direct flights from Tel Aviv to Mumbai, but it must take a circuitous route to avoid Saudi airspace, and a flight that should take just under five hours, ends up taking about eight.
State-run Air India introduced the direct thrice-a-week flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv, heralding a new beginning in people-to-people contacts and diplomatic ties between India and Israel.
Saudi Arabia permitted Air India to use its airspace, enabling it to take a shorter route that covers the distance in 7.25 hours, about 2.10 hours less as compared to El Al. Saudi Arabia, while granting overflight rights to Air India for flights to and from Israel, has so far been unwilling to do the same for El Al.