Published: Mon, March 26, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Air India's direct flights to Israel take-off

Air India's direct flights to Israel take-off

Saudi Arabia has opened its airspace for the first time to an Israel-bound passenger plane, breaking a 70-year-ban on commercial jets flying over the Arab kingdom to reach the Jewish state.

The flight will operate thrice-a-week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and will cover the distance in around seven hours - making it the fastest air- connectivity from India to Israel.

Israel's flag carrier El Al, excluded from the Saudi route, says its Indian competitor now has an unfair advantage.

In a world first, India's national carrier, Air India, flew to Israel via the Saudi airspace on March 22, 2018. "The business operations of the companies who will be interested in bidding for those subsidiaries will also be different.", an official familiar with the development told Moneycontrol.

"The inaugural flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv today is a historic occasion for both the countries", said CMD Air India Mr Pradeep Singh Kharola. With the permission, India is now able to adopt a shorter route by flying over Ahmedabad, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to reach Tel Aviv.

Saudi Arabia - birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest shrines - does not recognize Israel. The Government will commence the activity with the offer of the parent carrier and Air India Charters, which works minimal effort flights under the Air India Express brand. A spokeswoman for El Al confirmed the company intends to bring its complaint to the Supreme Court, but would not give any further details.

"That's what I think that this Saudi decision to allow the overflights consists of". Singapore Airlines did not immediately comment.

"A new era has begun", he said. "While IndiGo normally doesn't respond to rumors, in this particular instance, we would like to state that there are no ongoing discussions of this nature", said country largest airline in a statement released on Wednesday denying all the reports. "It's small but significant", he added.

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