Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday welcomed Saudi Arabia's decision to allow flights from "all countries" to pass through its airspace while traveling to or from the United Arab Emirates, Anadolu news agency reported.
"For years, I have been working to open the skies between Israel and the East. It was spectacular news two and a half years ago when Air India received approval to fly directly to Israel. Now there is another tremendous breakthrough: Israeli planes and those from all countries will be able to fly directly from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai and back. Flights will be cheaper and shorter, and it will lead to robust tourism and develop our economy," Netanyahu said.
He added that the new Saudi policy will open up the East, saying that "when you fly to Thailand or anywhere else in Asia, it will save time and money. This is amazing news for you, the citizens of Israel. These are the benefits of a peace that is genuine."
The Saudi Civil Aviation Authority granted Abu Dhabi permission to allow airliners "coming from and departing to all countries" and bound for or leaving one of the UAE's airports, to fly over Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the first commercial flight from Israel landed in the UAE after travelling through Saudi airspace.
The Saudi decision reduces flight times from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi to less than three and a half hours, compared to seven previously.