Policy Change: El Al Seeking to Fly Over Saudi Arabia

ben-gurion airport
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty

The Times of Israel reports: Israel’s largest airline has appealed to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), requesting the body’s help in obtaining permission to access Saudi Arabia’s airspace for a direct flight to India. Agreeing to overflights by the Israeli airline would mark a significant change of policy for the Arab state, which has never recognized Israel.

El Al newly appointed CEO Gonen Usishkin wrote a letter to Alexandre de Juniac, head of the trade association consisting of 278 airlines from 117 countries, asking to not be “discriminated” against compared with Indian airline Air India, Reuters reported Thursday.

The request came in response to reports last month that Saudi Arabia had okayed the use of its airspace for Air India flights between Israel and India, reports that were quickly denied by Saudi officials. However, the El Al chief said slot information from the Israel Airports Authority indicated those flight are slated to begin on March 6.

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