WASHINGTON - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Saudi Arabia had granted Air India permission to fly over its territory on its new routes to and from Tel Aviv.
There was no immediate confirmation from either Saudi <link>officials or Air India <link> . Netanyahu <link>made the announcement during a briefing in Washington to Israeli reporters after he had met US President Donald Trump.
Saudi <link> Arabia does not recogniseIsrael <link> and lifting the 70-year-old airspace ban would reflect what appears to be thawing ties betweenIsrael <link> and the kingdom, both US allies with a shared concern over Iranian influence in the region.
Last month, Air India <link> announced the planned thrice-weekly flights to Tel Aviv over Saudi <link> soil, but the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Riyadh said at the time it had not granted such permission to the carrier.
El Al Israel <link> Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, flies four weekly flights to Mumbai. These take seven hours as they fly south toward Ethiopia and then east to India , avoiding Saudi <link>airspace.