Commercial flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace for first time

posted on 4th August 2022 by Eddie Saunders
Commercial flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace for first time

By i24NEWS

A commercial flight to Israel entered Saudi airspace Thursday for the first time since Riyadh opened its skies to all flights, including Israeli ones, last month.

The flight operated by Cathay Pacific airline took off from Hong Kong and is scheduled to land in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning.

A flight-tracking service showed that the plane flew over the United Arab Emirates and the Persian Gulf before crossing the Saudi coast near the city of Damman. The aircraft passed over northern Saudi Arabia and Jordan and entered Israeli territory north of the Dead Sea.

Another Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Tel Aviv earlier this week took a different route, flying northwest over China, Kazakhstan and Turkey, and entering Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.

Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it was opening its airspace to all civilian flights hours before US President Joe Biden flew the first direct flight from Israel to the Kingdom.

Prior to this announcement, Saudi Arabia also banned non-Israeli airlines from flying to and from the Jewish state.

Israeli airlines have still not flown over Saudi airspace since the decision was announced.

Israel’s national airline El Al is expected to receive official approval from Riyadh within the week to begin using its airspace.

With this change, flights to and from India, Thailand, China and other countries can now fly over the Saudi peninsula, saving several hours of flight time.

The decision will also benefit Muslims from Israel who wish to participate in the hajj, as direct charter flights to Saudi Arabia will be available annually for pilgrims.