Manila in Talks With Riyadh to Allow Israel-Bound Flights to Use Saudi Airspace

Published January 3rd, 2019 - 09:30 GMT

The Philippines is in talks with Saudi Arabia to allow Israel-bound flights to use the kingdom's airspace, aviation officials in Manila have said, amid signs of increased Saudi-Israeli collaboration.

If Riyadh approves, the Philippine Airlines could launch direct flights to Tel Aviv within six months, airline president Jaime Bautista told reporers on Wednesday.

In March, Air India launched the first service to Israel to be allowed to cross Saudi airspace, with Riyadh overturning a 70-year-old ban on such routes.


Worth noting that Riyadh currently bans neighbouring Arab state Qatar from using Saudi airspace for civilian flights, after a Saudi-led bloc imposed a blockade on Doha in June 2017.

The reports come amid growing signs of Israeli-Saudi rapprochement, although Israeli airlines are yet to be granted such rights.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has recently described relations with Gulf Arab states and Egypt as the "best ever", with common concerns over Iran drawing them closer together.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official diplomatic relations, like much of the Arab world. Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries with peace treaties with Israel.
Israeli planes are currently forced to avoid the kingdom, but national carrier El Al has asked the International Air Transport Association to help it gain access to Saudi airspace.

Last week, Oman granted El Al permission to use its airspace.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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