Saudi Arabia receives first direct flight from Israel

Israeli El Al airline Boeing 737-958 aircraft at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on August 3, 2020 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

An Israeli private jet which departed on Tuesday has become the first public flight from Israel to land in Saudi Arabia, marking a continuation in the improving relations between the two countries, according to Israeli news outlet Kan

The flight, which touched down in the Saudi capital Riyadh, comes one day after an Emirati 737 Royal Jet from Saudi Arabia landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday evening.

Israeli relations with Saudi Arabia have witnessed a marked improvement since the normalisation agreements signed in September 2020 between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco.

Despite much speculation and private coordination between the two states, Saudi Arabia is yet to sign a normalisation agreement with Israel.

No commercial flights operate between the two countries, but last year they did agree to open their respective airspaces to each other, considerably easing the passage of travellers who were flying between Israel and the UAE.

Prior to the opening of Saudi airspace, flights going between Tel Aviv and Dubai would have to avoid Saudi airspace by flying via Mumbai, added between two and three hours to the journey time.

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