El Al Israel Airlines Requests To Fly Over Saudi Airspace
Israel’s flag carrier El Al has made an official request to fly through Saudi Arabia’s airspace, Israeli media reported Sunday. The request, for flights between Tel Aviv and Bangkok, was reported to have been filed to the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia. The Israel-Thailand route now takes about 11 hours; rerouting through Saudi Arabia could shave up to two hours off the flight time, resulting in a cheaper, more convenient, and more environmentally friendly flight. Saudi Arabia on Friday announced that it would open its airspace to “all carriers” that meet the authority’s overflying requirements. Israeli airlines were not specifically mentioned but the announcement was widely interpreted as a signal that they would not be rejected automatically – a significant step toward the normalization of relations between the countries.