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Air India creates history by flying to Israel over Saudi air space

Air India creates history by flying to Israel over Saudi air space

Air India creates history by flying to Israel over Saudi air space
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By CNBCTV18.COM  Mar 24, 2018 6:17:46 AM IST (Updated)

Air India’s Delhi- Tel Aviv flight AI 139 entered Saudi airspace yesterday making it the first commercial flight to do so in seventy years.

In what is seen as a historical moment in the annals of diplomacy and international relations, Saudi Arabia’s air space was opened for Air India flight travelling to Israel on Thursday. The decision brings end to a seven decades old ban by the monarchy against the use of their air space by flights flying to or from Israel.

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As per tweets posted by Flightradar24, a popular aviation twitter site, the historical event took place yesterday when Air India’s Delhi- Tel Aviv flight AI 139 entered Saudi airspace yesterday making it the first commercial flight to do so in seventy years. “Air India’s inaugural Delhi-Tel Aviv flight has now entered Saudi Arabian airspace. #AI139 is the first commercial flight in 7 decades to fly over Saudi Arabia en route to Israel,” the tweet read along with a route map.
 
The site later also confirmed the landing of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport later in the afternoon by tweeting that “#AI139 has landed in Tel Aviv, after being the first commercial flight to transit Saudi Arabian airspace en route to Israel in 70 years.”
#AI139 has landed in Tel Aviv, after being the first commercial flight to transit Saudi Arabian airspace en route to Israel in 70 years. https://t.co/0amEXONPpk pic.twitter.com/wwoXmOBedD
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 22, 2018
The flight is considered significant as it not only symbolizes the rising influence of India across the globe, but also shift in middle-eastern political dynamics. Saudi, which is home to two of the holiest Islamic sites have traditionally been hostile towards Israel, the Jewish nation that now controls Jerusalem, the other holy site of Islam. Like several other Arabic and Islamic nations, Saudi Arabia too does not recognize Israel and sees it as an occupier that illegally took over Palestinian lands.
However the new move comes following the shift of power in Riyadh and also the rising influence of Iran, seen as an enemy by both Israel and Saudi in the region.
Riyadh has not yet formally acknowledged the opening of the route to Air India, a news that has been lingering around aviation circles for quite a while. Yemen too has not acknowledged the use of its airspace by the flight as it too officially does not permit Israel bound flights to use its air space.
The new route will be an advantage to Air India as the route is shorter than the traditional route over the Red Sea. It will also give the carrier an advantage over Israel’s El Al that currently operates between Mumbai and Israel and is looking to expand operations to Delhi.
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