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Air India denies receiving permission to fly to Israel over Saudi airspace

Air India [Rick Schlamp/Flickr]

Air India has denied the claim by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow the carrier use its airspace during flights to the Zionist state. Netanyahu made his comment to journalists in Washington on Monday.

“The Indian airline signed an agreement on Monday to travel to Israel over Saudi Arabia,” he said. Flights to and from India will take the same time as flights between London and Tel Aviv, some five and a half hours, he pointed out.

“We have not received any confirmation from the Saudi authorities,” countered Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar on Tuesday. “We only sent a request for a flight but we have not received any response from the Saudi authorities.”

Read: Saudi gives Air India overflight rights for its Israel routes, says Netanyahu

He pointed out that it is possible that an agreement has been reached with another Indian company, and that Air India is not aware of this. ” “I hope that the Saudi authorities will approve our request,” the spokesman added.

Israeli airline El Al is the only airline to operate direct flights from Israel to India. However, its jets fly around the Arabian Peninsula, which adds more than two hours to the flight time.

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