Lately, Saudi Arabia opened itself to a lot of things, either for the very first time or after decades. The latest entry is made by another surprising change that Saudi welcomed recently, which is opening of its airspace for an Israeli-bound commercial flight.
Till today, only US Presidents onboard Air Force One, to or from Israel, were allowed to use the Saudi Arabian airspace and no other. Meanwhile, the change has opened Saudi airspace for an Air India commercial flight bound to Israel for the very first time.
By opening its airspace to commercial flights bound to Israel, Saudi Arabia has helped cut down the regular flight duration by 2.5 hours. The first commercial flight to have used Saudi airspace post the allotment of permission was an Air India flight from flying from New Delhi to Tel Aviv.
The Air India 139 arrived at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport by covering a 7-1/2 hours of flight duration. This marked a shift in the diplomatic relations of Riyadh and Israel that the latter claimed was fuelled by their mutual concern regarding Iranian influence in the region.
Yariv Levin, Israeli Tourism Minister praised the move and said during a radio interview, “This is a really historic day that follows two years of very, very intensive work”. Levin added that the opening of the Saudi airspace has not only cut down the travel time to India from Israel, but will also bring in a drop in the flight ticket prices, which will add to the convenience of frequent travelers.