Air India Now Selling The First Ever Commercial Flights To Israel Via Saudi Arabian Airspace

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Air India is now selling tickets nonstop between Tel Aviv and Delhi. For the first time in Israel’s history, Saudi Arabia is permitting a commercial flight to/from Israel to fly over their airspace.

The flight will operate on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday in either direction on an Air India 787 Dreamliner.

Award space has not yet been loaded for the flight, but you will be able to redeem 22.5K United miles in coach or 35K United miles in business class for the Air India once that inventory is loaded.

For now though it seems that El Al will still have to avoid Saudi airspace. Israel may subsidize El Al’s extra fuel costs due to that, though that doesn’t address the flights that passengers will pick due to El Al’s longer flight times.

For example, this is how El Al has to fly from Tel Aviv to Mumbai:


By flying over Saudi Arabia, Air India will be able to shave several hours off of the route.

Or for example, an El Al flight nonstop from Tel Aviv to Bangkok is blocked at 10 hours and 50 minutes. That’s 5 minutes longer than a connecting flight from Tel Aviv to Bangkok via Amman!


That’s due to El Al’s 747 avoiding Saudi airspace:


While Royal Joradanian’s Dreamliner flies over it:


At any rate, it’s great to see Saudi Arabia-Israel begin to thaw. Hopefully one day the airspace will be open for all airlines to fly over, which will open all kinds of new nonstop flights to Israel.

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11 Comments On "Air India Now Selling The First Ever Commercial Flights To Israel Via Saudi Arabian Airspace"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Is this really a thaw in the relationship between Saudi Arabia-Israel? Or is it a way to stick it to El Al by essentially ending that route for them (or forcing them to slash prices)?


+1 That’s the way I viewed it too


Isn’t 30,000ft up the air considered international air space, or is that just with boats 3 miles away from shore?


Will these flights be cheaper


for jews doing the tlv – mel route, out of all 6 flights the only feasible one is the tuesday flight leaving tlv [75k business] all the others wont work


While it’s good to have a star alliance direct flight going east from TLV, this doesn’t seem like the best connection/option to Australia.

Cathay seems to still be the best, and in certain instances even a connection via IST gets you there in less time than Air India.

However, overall this is a step in the right direction.


Where can you tickets for sale?


Agoldsc1 – this is Air India having negotiated a good commercial agreement backed by the Indian and Israeli governments. Whilst the Air India reputation for service is not great, the flight crews cannot be worse than the arrogant El Al staff. Good luck on the new route!


BTW award tickets are available with UA and almost every flight has at least 2 business class and 4 economy seats available.