Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst who provides aviation analysis on BBC News, Sky News, Good Morning Britain & LBC London, on Tuesday night tweeted that Saudi Arabia is planning to allow UAE-Israel flights (such as Dubai-Tel Aviv) to fly over Saudi airspace.
Breaking: Saudi Arabia to allow UAE-Israel flights (such as Dubai-Tel Aviv) to overfly Saudi airspace
With Saudi airspace access, flights between Dubai/Abu Dhabi – Tel Aviv could begin as soon as this year, in what is considered an unprecedented development for the region ✈️ pic.twitter.com/Mgs1jFixzV
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) August 18, 2020
“With Saudi airspace access, flights between Dubai/Abu Dhabi – Tel Aviv could begin as soon as this year, in what is considered an unprecedented development for the region,” Macheras noted.
“While Saudi does not publicly recognize Israel, Saudi Arabia quietly gave Air India permission to begin flying using Saudi airspace on its New Delhi-Tel Aviv route in 2018,” the analyst continued.
In march 2018, the first Air India flight that flew from India to Israel over Saudi Arabia landed at Ben Gurion Airport, eliciting excited congratulations from Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who said, “We are celebrating tonight the tightening of relations with India and the first civil contact with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.” Less than one week later, El Al Airlines filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice, against the government’s approval given to Air India to fly over Saudi Arabia on its flights from India to Israel. “The abbreviated route is an exceptional competitive advantage to an extent exceeding normal initial conditions,” El Al claimed.
In late July, El Al withdrew the petition, deciding to heed the urgings of the justices.
Meanwhile, according to Macheras, Saudi Arabia continues its air blockade on its Gulf neighbor Qatar, specifically banning Qatari registered jets from flying over its airspace – a move that violates Saudi Arabia’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) treaties and was recently ruled against by the International Court of Justice.
The flight time over Saudi Arabia between Israel and the UAE will be cut substantially, to about 3 hours.