Saudi Arabia opens airspace to Israeli airlines — Analysis
Riyadh agreed to permit overflights from all airlines in an effort to foster stability in the Middle East, which was hailed as encouraging Middle East stability.
Biden claims credit for Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow overflights from all airlines. This will help promote stability and integration between Israel and its neighboring countries.
“Today, I will be the first president of the United States to fly from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,” Biden said on Friday as he began the second leg of his trip to the Middle East . “As we mark this important moment, Saudi Arabia’s decision can help build momentum toward Israel’s further integration into the region, including with Saudi Arabia.”
Biden said Riyadh’s historic move marks an “important step toward building a more integrated and stable Middle East region.”He said, “While this opening has long been discussed, now, thanks to months of steady diplomacy between my administration and Saudi Arabia, it is finally a reality.”
The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) revealed the new policy late on Thursday, saying it reflected the kingdom’s “keenness”It will fulfill the obligations it has under the 1944 international pact that prohibits discrimination in civil aviation. The decision will also further Saudi Arabia’s efforts to consolidate its position as a global air hub connecting three continents.
It has been difficult for Israeli flight to destinations in Asia such as China or India that they have had to circumvent the airspace boundaries of countries covering over 830,000 sq miles. This has led fuel consumption and increased flight time. New policy should reduce travel times by several hours and allow Israeli Muslims charter direct flights to Mecca to complete the Hajj pilgrimage.
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“It will be a new era that will bring Asia closer to Israel,” Israir CEO Uri Sirkis told Tel Aviv’s 103 FM radio station.
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