Air India denies 'any confirmation' for flights to Israel using Saudi Airspace

Air India denies 'any confirmation' for flights to Israel using Saudi Airspace

There was no confirmation from either Riyadh or Air India.

Israeli airline El Al has sent a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), asking the United Nations body to influence Riyadh to allow it to reroute flights between Tel Aviv and India through Saudi airspace.

India's national carrier has secured permission to begin non-stop flights between New Delhi and Tel Aviv that will pass through Saudi airspace, an official said Wednesday. "We have yet to receive anything from authorities", Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar told i24NEWS on Tuesday.

Israel and India have seen a surge in cooperation under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By comparison, Air India's three flights a week between the Indian capital and Tel Aviv - a longer flight by distance - will take only seven hours.

Netanyahu had told reporters that Saudi Arabia has given Air India approval to fly through its airspace on flights between Israel and India. It will depart from New Delhi at 4:50 pm and arrive in Tel Aviv at 8:25 pm.

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The allegations of the use of chemical weapons are a "mere blackmail" that the West resorted to strike the Syrian army, he noted. The Syrian government, through the SANA state news agency, denied using chemical weapons in its eastern Ghouta offensive.

For 70 years, Saudi airspace has remained closed to Israeli aircraft and to all flights bound for the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Air India launched the ticket sale for the first flights that will travel on the route for about $300 one way yesterday.

The move is seen as a nod to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's influence in the region, who visited the occupied West Bank on February 10.

This has been credited to the shakeup of Saudi domestic and foreign policy, spearheaded by the young and ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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