Netanyahu: Saudi Arabia to allow overflights to Israel

State-run flag carrier Air India has been granted permission by Saudi Arabia to fly over its soil on a new route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Currently, Israel's national airline El Al is the only airline offering direct flights from Israel to India.

Israel's Ministry of Tourism will approve a one-time grant of 750,000 euros to Air to launch the flight service, an official said in Jerusalem last month.

'We have not received any confirmation.

In February, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Saudi Arabia had granted permission, for the first time, for Air India flights headed to Israel to use its airspace.

Air India has been allowed by Saudi Arabia to fly over its territory on its new route from New Delhi to Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, a move which would slash travel time between the two cities by two and a half hours.

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"It is for the them to decide on our request, but we haven't yet received any communication about it from the regulator". Air India had earlier announced to start direct flight between Delhi and Tel Aviv.

EI AI Israel Airlines now has four weekly flights to Mumbai and it takes seven hours as they fly south toward Ethiopia and then east to India, avoiding the Saudi airspace.

Saudi Arabia officially does not recognize the existence of Israel, and all planes flying from Israel to India and returning, are banned from flying through Saudi Arabian airspace.

Netanyahu, who visited India in January, acknowledged the agreement could hurt El Al.

"The political changes in Saudi Arabia and the desire to consolidate power are the main reason why these relations with Israel were opened", Mahjoob Zweiri, an associate professor in the Gulf Studies Program at Qatar University, had previously said.