World, Middle East

Saudi Arabia refuses to allow Israeli flight to use airspace

Reason for Saudi refusal to grant permission to Israir flight remains unclear

Zein Khalil   | 26.05.2021
Saudi Arabia refuses to allow Israeli flight to use airspace

JERUSALEM 

An Israeli carrier was forced on Tuesday to cancel a flight to Dubai after failure to obtain Saudi permission to fly through its airspace, according to Israeli media.

Israeli army radio said the passengers waited for 10 hours at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv before the Israir flight was canceled.

The reason for the Saudi refusal to grant permission to the Israeli flight remains unclear. Riyadh has allowed Israeli flights to use the Saudi airspace en route to Dubai since November.

Without using Saudi airspace, flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be difficult and unsustainable, as it makes the flight period eight hours instead of three hours.

In December, Israir announced a flight program of two flights daily between Israel and the UAE. Other Israeli carriers, including El Al, also had similar flight programs.

In September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed a US-sponsored deal to normalize their relations. Since then, the two countries have signed dozens of bilateral agreements in various fields, including investment, banking services, and tourism.


*Ahmed Asmar in Ankara contributed to this report

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