On eve of route launch, Saudi Arabia okays Israeli use of airspace for UAE flights

Riyadh grants permission for Israeli planes fly over its territory, allowing historic Israir flight to go ahead on Tuesday morning; three Israeli airlines set to launch total of 40 weekly flights to popular Emirati city from next month

Itay Blumenthal|Updated:
Israel’s first commercial flight to the UAE will go ahead as planned on Tuesday morning, taking off from Ben-Gurion Airport to Dubai International Airport, after Saudi Arabia granted permission for the flight to use its airspace with less than a day to spare.
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  • Israeli carrier Israir had feared it would have to cancel the flight due to a lack of Saudi approval, as the Airbus A320 aircraft used for the flight has limited range and the alternate route through the Arabian Sea would double the length of the trip to Dubai.
    3 View gallery
    ישראלים ואמירתים מניפים דגלים יחד
    ישראלים ואמירתים מניפים דגלים יחד
    Israeli and UAE flags are held up on the beach at Dubai to mark the historic normalization agreement
    (Photo: Alex Supinski)
    The historic flight is set to be a cornerstone in the relationship between Israel and the UAE, after the two countries signed the normalization agreement in the form of the Abraham Accords in September.
    Israir, Arkia and El Al, the Israeli airlines scheduled to operate flights to the UAE within the next month, had appealed to the Prime Minister's Office, the Transportation Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority for updates on the issue.
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    בנימין נתניהו בטקס קבלת הפנים לטיסה המסחרית הראשונה של חברת "פליי דובאי" מאבו-דאבי
    בנימין נתניהו בטקס קבלת הפנים לטיסה המסחרית הראשונה של חברת "פליי דובאי" מאבו-דאבי
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the ceremony welcoming the flydubai airline to Israel last week
    (Photo: GPO)
    Emirati air carrier flydubai began operating flights from Israel to Dubai on November 26.
    At a ceremony last week at Ben-Gurion Airport to mark the launch of the flydubai Israel-UAE route, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We are already flying over Saudi Arabia as you know. All those flights go over Saudi Arabia, including flights by Israeli companies."
    3 View gallery
    פליי דובאי
    פליי דובאי
    A flybdubai plane landing at Ben-Gurion Airport last week
    (Photo: Itay Blumenthal)
    Israeli airlines are set to operate more than 40 flights to Dubai each week.
    Israir is scheduled to launch two daily flights to Dubai on December 2, Arkia is set to begin its own twice daily flights from December 3 and El Al is also due to begin 14 flights per week on December 9.
    First published: 18:29, 11.30.20
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