The airline, Air Seychelles, flying to Israel had to perform an emergency landing in Saudi Arabia last night, reported The Times of Israel.
The commercial flight accommodating 128 Israeli passengers experienced a technical issue after which the flight was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Saudi Arabia.
“All the passengers are safe and, a few minutes ago, a replacement flight departed [for Jeddah in order to return the passengers and continue their flight to Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has been updated,” Air Seychelles said in a statement.
After their unscheduled stop, the Israeli passengers spent the night at a hotel located in Jeddah Airport. The alternate flight was scheduled to take off for Israel this morning.
“I greatly appreciate the warm treatment of the Saudi authorities toward the Israeli passengers whose plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Jeddah,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I’m pleased that everyone is returning home. I greatly appreciate the good neighbourliness.”
It comes after Israeli airlines, El Al, Israir and Arkia, obtained Saudi approval last year to fly over its airspace. Saudi Arabia will also allow other foreign companies to operate their flights to Israel via its airspace.
Following the decision, Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, affirmed that “this does not mean diplomatic relations with Israel, nor does it mean any other steps.”
Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has stated repeatedly that it will not normalise relations with Tel Aviv until the Palestinian issue is resolved.