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Saudi Arabia approves use of airspace for UAE flights to and from all countries

Saudi Arabia approves use of airspace for UAE flights to and from all countries

The UAE and Israel have recently normalised ties and pledged to cooperate in areas including civil aviation

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The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed that it has obtained approvals from Saudi Arabia to use the kingdom’s airspace for flights arriving or departing the UAE from all countries, reported state news agency WAM.

The approval is a significant one considering that the UAE and Israel have normalised ties and pledged to cooperate in areas including civil aviation.

On Monday, the first-ever direct commercial flight from Israel to the UAE landed at the presidential airport in Abu Dhabi carrying onboard an Israeli and American delegation.

Read: Watch: First direct commercial flight from Israel to the UAE lands in Abu Dhabi

The El Al Flight 971 which departed from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv reportedly flew over Saudi Arabian airspace and carried delegation members including Senior Adviser to US President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and also Meir Ben-Shabbat, National Security Adviser and head of the Israeli National Security Council.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Etihad Airways started selling tickets to Israeli passengers in the lead-up to normal commercial flights between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad will offer flights through Tal Aviation, an Israeli company that handles sales and marketing for airlines in foreign markets, a spokeswoman for the carrier said, confirming a local television report.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday any airline, including Israeli ones, could now fly directly to the UAE through the Saudi airspace, and that it would shave off hours on routes to Asian destinations.

While the UAE agreed to the Abraham Accord last month saying that it would normalise relations with Israel provided that Israel does not annex any further Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has said that it remains committed to the Arab peace plan signed in 2002 that proposes normalised relations between Saudi and Israel only after Israel withdraws from the Palestinian territories.

Read:Saudi will stick to 2002 Arab peace plan – foreign minister

With inputs from Bloomberg

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