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Saudi airline cancels contract over aircraft landing in Israel

May 9, 2015 at 11:58 am

Saudi Arabia’s national airline has cancelled its contract with a Portuguese firm after the latter flew an empty plane bearing the Saudi logo to Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel, Anadolu reported on Friday.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) issued a statement stressing that the plane in question did not belong to its fleet, but is owned by the Portuguese Hi Fly company, which was contracted by SAA to provide aircraft and crews for commercial operations if and when needed. The statement was released after Israeli media reported that a Saudi passenger plane had landed at Ben-Gurion on Tuesday night for technical maintenance. A photo of the plane carrying the SAA logo at the Israeli airport created a major stir on social media.

The Saudi airline said that the plane was out of service when Hi Fly took it for repair in Brussels before the photo in question emerged. It added that it had decided to cancel the contract with the company after the latter violated the terms of the contract, which stated that SAA must approve in advance the airports where the planes carrying its logo are to land.

Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel and has no diplomatic relations with the self-proclaimed Jewish state.