Air India's new Israel route set for take off

Air India's new Israel route set for take off
Air India's first flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv on its newly-approved flight route will depart at 6PM in India on Thursday.
1 min read
22 March, 2018
The new flight route will cut journey times by as much as two hours [AFP]

Air India's first flight on its new route to Tel Aviv, which will fly over Saudi airspace, is set to depart from New Delhi on Thursday, India's foreign ministry said.

The recent granting of permission for the new route marked a break with a decades-old ban Riyadh had implemented on the use of its airspace for flights to Israel.

The 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner will fly over Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states on its route to Tel Aviv, cutting standard flight times by as much as two hours.

It will leave New Delhi at 6 PM Indian time and arrive at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport at 9:45 PM on Thursday. 

Both Israel and India have lauded the new route, with Israel's foreign ministry emphasising its importance and the potential investment opportunities it may open in both countries.

Riyadh, meanwhile, has remained largely silent on the matter, fuelling speculation about covert ties with Israel.

Israel's national air carrier, El Al, operates four weekly flights to Mumbai, however takes a longer route to avoid Saudi airspace.

The airliner has appealed to the Uited Nations to be granted similar rights as Air India to use Saudi airspace.