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Flights between Israel and India to shorten after Saudi Arabia opens its airspace

The 20-year requirement to divert around Saudi Arabian airspace has come to an end

    (Photo: Getty Images)

    Flights between Israel and India are about to become two hours shorter, courtesy of an agreement made this week to allow Israel-bound flights to use Saudi airspace.

    The announcement of this time, fuel, and cost-saving agreement came among a number of pacts between Israel and India made as part of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s six-day visit to the world’s largest democracy.

    The two nations have signed nine other agreements covering cooperation on cyber-security, oil and gas exploration, and a possible space programme.

    At the moment, only El Al operates flights between Israel and India. India is a popular holiday destination for Israelis, often as a celebration of the end of their military service.

    El Al flights between Israel and Mumbai currently follow a long, roundabout route which skirts Saudi territory, flying above the Arabah and continuing over the Red Sea until reaching Yemen.

    Air India ceased their services some 20 years ago, citing the additional expense of following the diversion around Saudi Arabia. Now that direct flights are again a possibility, there is every chance that the Indian national carrier will also start providing flights between New Delhi and Ben Gurion Airports.

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