August 20, 2022

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Saudi Arabia opens airspace for all airlines, including Israeli |  Aviation News

Saudi Arabia opens airspace for all airlines, including Israeli | Aviation News

Saudi Arabia says it will open its airspace to all air carriers, paving the way for more flights to and from Israel.

Saudi Arabia says it will open its airspace to all air carriers, paving the way for more flights to and from Israel – another sign that relations between the two countries are warming.

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation said, on Thursday, that the Kingdom’s airspace is now open to all airlines that meet the requirements to fly, in line with international agreements that stipulate non-discrimination between civil aircraft.

She added in a statement that the decision “complements the efforts aimed at consolidating the Kingdom’s position as a global hub linking three continents and strengthening international air connectivity.”

Riyadh’s announcement of an open skies policy will mean shorter flights from Asia to Israel, as airlines serving these routes will no longer be required to make long detours around Saudi Arabia en route to Israel.

US President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to travel to the kingdom from Israel on Friday as part of a regional tour, welcomed the Saudi move.

“This decision paves the way for a more integrated, stable, and secure Middle East, which is vital to the security and prosperity of the United States and the American people, and to the security and prosperity of Israel,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

Earlier on Thursday, a US official told Reuters that Saudi Arabia will soon grant unrestricted overflight to Israeli airlines and allow direct chartered flights from Israel for Muslims participating in the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

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thriving relationships

There are no diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom does not recognize Israel as a state – which is one possible reason why the Saudi statement did not refer to Israel by name.

But behind the scenes, the two sides have been working together on security issues for some time, as both are concerned about the growing influence of their common enemy Iran in the region.

Saudi Arabia has already allowed its airspace to be used for flights between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain since the two Gulf neighbors established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 with US mediation.

In 2020, Saudi air traffic control allowed an Israeli plane en route to India to fly through its airspace to avoid bad weather, according to a report.

In a guest article for The Washington Post earlier this week, Biden said he was glad he would be the first president to fly direct from Israel to the Saudi city of Jeddah on Friday, describing the flight as “a small symbol of the burgeoning relations and steps toward normalization between Israel and the Arab world.”