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Air India route gets Saudi overflight okay, Israeli PM says

Air India route gets Saudi overflight okay, Israeli PM says”

But, Riyadh denied granting such permission.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow Air India to use its airspace in flights to and from the Zionist entity in what could indicate a further step towards normalization of ties between the Gulf states and the occupation regime.

If approved, it would be the first time Saudi Arabia allows commercial flights to fly to Israel to use its airspace and would signal a significant shift in policy that has shaped the region for decades.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that Saudi Arabia has granted permission to India's national carrier Air India to fly through its airspace between Tel Aviv and India. However, there is no confirmation from either Saudi officials or Air India on this matter.

Flying over Saudi airspace, instead of around it, would cut flight times to New Delhi and Mumbai by several hours. Saudi Arabia has not confirmed these contacts, and it maintains that establishing diplomatic ties with Israel would necessitate a withdrawal from Arab lands captured during the 1967 war.

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But Air India said on Tuesday that while it had issued such a request, the regulator had yet to give it a positive answer.

Currently, Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and has banned any flights to the country from using its airspace for more than 70 years. Air India had earlier announced to start direct flight between Delhi and Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu, who visited India in January, acknowledged the agreement could hurt El Al.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed protocol between India and Israel on Amendments to the Air Transport Agreement that envisages entering into cooperative marketing arrangements, such as code share, bloc space or any other JV agreement for the objective of operating the agreed services on the specified routes.

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