מירי רגב בנימין נתניהו
Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Prime Minister Netanyahu
Photo: GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu: Israel working on direct UAE flights via Saudi airspace

PM says during a tour of Ben Gurion Airport, the flight would be three hours long and would bring 'massive' amount of tourism and investment to both countries, adding Emiratis 'want and will' come to Israel

Itay Blumenthal |
Published: 08.17.20 , 13:34
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Israel is working to establish direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, which would fly over Saudi Arabia's territory.
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  • Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday they are establishing full diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex West Bank land sought by the Palestinians.
    בנימין נתניהובנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    "We are currently working on direct flights over Saudi Arabia between Tel Aviv, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it would be a short flight of three hours," he said.
    Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and its air space is closed to Israeli airliners. But in what was seen in Israel as a harbinger of warmer relations with Riyadh, Air India was allowed in 2018 to begin flying over Saudi territory on its New Delhi-Tel Aviv route.
    "It means a huge amount of investment and tourism for both sides. The United Arab Emirates is very interested in massively investing in technology in Israel."
    Netanyahu made the remarks during a tour of Ben Gurion Airport with Transportation Minister Miri Regev, ahead of partial reopening of air traffic.
    The prime minister said that Emiratis "want and will" come to Israel.
    מירי רגב בנימין נתניהומירי רגב בנימין נתניהו
    Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Prime Minister Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    "Dubai has the largest free trade areas in the world, and now these goods will be part of the peace agreement and lower the prices of products in Israel. This is a massive injection into the Israeli economy and possibilities for Israelis, which have not been available until now."
    Regev added that Israir Airlines has submitted an official request to begin operating flights to Dubai. "We need to establish the flight route, soon we will have the news."
    A delegation from Israel is expected to travel to the UAE within weeks to work out the modalities of normalized relations, but any swift opening of a commercial air route could be complicated by coronavirus restrictions.
    Reuters contributed to this report
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