For the first time ever, an worldwide airline can use Saudi airspace to fly to Israel.
India's national carrier Air India on Wednesday began selling direct five-hour flights between Delhi and Israel's Ben-Gurion worldwide airport.
A day after India Air began selling tickets for seven-hour Tel Aviv-New Delhi flights, El Al announced that it has appealed to the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization, requesting that its India-bound planes be allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia.
"It is for the them to decide on our request, but we haven't yet received any communication about it from the regulator". Air India plans to operate flights three days a week, and the flight would save two hours of travel time as a result of flying over the Saudi airspace, an Air India spokesman said.
Mr. Netanyahu discussed the launch of direct Air India flights to Israel with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while on a state visit to India in January.
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The Air India flights will save flying time due to their shorter route.
A spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority confirmed Air India has received permission to land at Israel's Ben Gurion airport, but could provide no further details.
Air India is charging about $700 return fare for its new Tel Aviv - Delhi route.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have never had official diplomatic relations, and interactions between their governments have taken place only through back channels. The inaugural flight is set for March 22.
The move is seen as a nod to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's influence in the region, who visited the occupied West Bank on February 10.
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