Saudi Arabia opens airspace to all carriers
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Saudi Arabia opens airspace to all carriers

Saudi Arabia opens airspace to all carriers

The move by Saudi Arabia marks a win for Joe Biden as he uses his visit to the region this week to advance US strategic interests

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Saudi Arabia airspace

Saudi Arabia said it would open its airspace to all airlines, a change that is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to improve relations in the Middle East.

Any carrier meeting requirements for overflying will be affected, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation said in a tweet on Friday.

“This decision is the result of the president’s persistent and principled diplomacy with Saudi Arabia over many months,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement. The announcement – which includes flights to and from Israel – paved the way for a more “integrated, stable and secure” region, he added.

The move by Saudi Arabia marks a small win for Biden as he uses his visit to the region this week to advance US strategic interests, namely an increase in Saudi oil production to temper soaring gas prices, while still balancing human rights issues.

Dubai’s Emirates Airline, Bahrain’s Gulf Air and Israeli airlines including flag carrier El Al had been permitted to use Saudi airspace for Dubai-Tel Aviv and Manama-Tel Aviv routes, but Israel was restricted from using it for other commercial flights.

With the exception of Air India, other foreign airlines weren’t authorised to fly over Saudi Arabia when operating to Tel Aviv, though they could for other routes. Airlines have been lobbying for such permission, one person familiar with the matter said earlier.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have no formal diplomatic ties.

Read: US President Joe Biden begins his Middle East tour

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