El Al Submits Official Request to Cross Saudi Airspace

An El AL plane takes off at Ben Gurion Airport. (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

El Al submitted flight plans to Saudi Arabia’s aviation authorities at the weekend, including an official request to pass through the Gulf state’s airspace.

El Al’s official request came after Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that it would open its airspace to all flights to and from Israel.

If Saudi Arabia accepts the flight plan, El Al will within a week or two be able to fly over the kingdom, making their flights to the east shorter and less costly.

Initially, El Al submitted a request for flights to Thailand that would shorten the flight duration time by an hour and a half to two hours, and reduce the prices, Yediot reported.

Also, two other Israeli airlines, Israir and Arkia, are expected to submit similar requests, making their future routes to the east faster and cheaper.

In order to pass through the skies of Saudi Arabia, Israeli airlines also need approval of passing through the airspace of Oman, however, if the kingdom accepts the request, Oman is expected to do the same, according to the report.

Before Friday’s announcement, Israeli aircrafts were only permitted to fly over Saudi Arabia if they were going to or from the UAE or Bahrain, in accordance with the Abraham Accords.

If things go as planned, El Al will expand its flight options to many destinations in the Far East, including a direct flight from Israel to India. A flight to Mumbai, per se, could be take as little as five hours and 15 minutes instead of seven hours and 50 minutes it takes today.

By decreasing fuel burn and expenses on upkeeping aircrafts, Israeli airlines will also be able to significantly lower prices for its consumers.

Some additional innovative flights to places such as Singapore, Japan, and Australia are expected to become more accessible and attractive due to changes in routes.

The opening of the kingdom’s airspace to Israeli airlines is the latest example of warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, with the President Joe Biden flying direct from Israel to Saudi Arabia on his recent Middle East trip.

However, on Friday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that there will not be full normalization between Israel and the Gulf state until a two-state solution with the Palestinian population is reached.

“We have said that Saudi Arabia supports the Arab Peace Initiative. In fact, we offered it. We have made it clear that peace comes at the end of this process, not at the beginning of it,” Jubeir told CNN News.

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