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Israel’s El Al to resume India flights using Saudi corridor

El Al Airbus El Al
Since its inception in 1948, El Al has maintained an all-Boeing fleet, owing to Israel's close ties with chief ally the United States

El Al Israel Airlines is to resume flights to India in October after a three-year absence, citing shorter flight times due to the ability to fly over Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Israel’s flag carrier will operate four weekly flights to Mumbai from Tel Aviv using Boeing 737 aircraft, with the route expected to take 5.5 hours, down from 7.45 hours previously.

It will also fly twice weekly to New Delhi using larger Boeing 777 or 787 planes. The flight time on that route will fall to 6.5 hours from nine hours, El Al said.

“The launch of the new routes is now possible following the recently received approval to fly over the skies of Saudi Arabia and Oman,” the airline added.

India is popular with Israeli tourists and business people.

Last month Muscat joined Riyadh in allowing Israeli civilian overflights and El Al has been using the new route on flights to Asia.

El Al has said the new Saudi corridor will allow it to expand routes in Asia and to Australia.

In July 2022 US President Joe Biden announced that Riyadh would allow unfettered Israeli overflights. But implementation had been on hold pending the agreement of Oman, as the Saudi corridor extends over its territory for easterly routes.

“This historic step completes a process begun last year, during President Biden’s visit to the Middle East region,” said a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.