Air India's direct flight to Israel begins today

26 March, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Air India's direct flight to Israel begins today

"I am sure that we will see many more Indian tourists coming to Israel... and Israelis would also come to India in much higher numbers", Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told PTI. Reports over the past year indicate a warming of ties between Saudi Arabia and the USA as well as Israel, seemingly a result of the Iranian threat.

Israel's national carrier El Al now operates an India service to Mumbai that takes a detour over the Red Sea to avoid flying over Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Air India 139 took off from Delhi, and the Boeing Dreamliner flew over the kingdom for three hours, passing just west of the Saudi capital, according to the Flightradar24 monitoring app.

On more than one occasion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that Israel's relations with the Arab world are now better than ever.

The Saudi government, for its part, has not officially commented on the development.




According to a report by Mihir Mishra in The Economic Times, the government has stipulated INR 5,000 crore as the minimum net worth for those looking to bid for state-owned Air India, in order to screen out frivolous and dubious contenders, said a senior government official. "Israel is a lovely country, and we expect to carry many people in both directions", he said.

Israel's national carrier El Al now operates an India service to Mumbai that takes a detour over the Red Sea to avoid flying over Saudi Arabia and Iran.

El Al has asked industry group IATA to help it access Saudi Arabia's airspace.

Budget airline IndiGo said that it is not in any "ongoing discussions" with any Gulf-based carrier for an Air India bid, the IANS reported. Those flights take around 7 hours and 40 minutes, following a Red Sea route that swings toward Ethiopia to avoid Saudi airspace. Ultimately this (El Al overflights) will happen too, ' he said. Carriers with zero or negative net worth can participate provided they form a consortium with other partners, together adding up to the stipulated threshold, he said.

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