[Update: Now Confirmed] Saudi Arabia Reportedly Approves Israel-United Arab Emirates Flights To Overfly Their Airspace!

Photo Credit: Askii [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
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Update, 9/2: This report from 2 weeks ago has now been confirmed. Saudi Arabia will allow all airliners headed to or from the UAE to fly over their airspace! This is the first time Israeli airliners have received permission to overfly Saudi Arabia for scheduled commercial flights.

Hopefully the Saudi airspace will open for flights from Israel to more destinations, and we’ll see flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia in the future! 

Originally posted on 8/18:

Related post: Trip Notes: Stopping Over In Dubai And Abu Dhabi In The United Arab Emirates En Route To The Maldives

Last week we learned that Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize their relationship.

I noted then that Etihad’s 2 humanitarian flights to Israel “had to fly via Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, and Cyprus rather than over Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Lebanon, but hopefully they will be able to overfly Saudi Arabia as part of these agreements.”


And now aviation blogger Alex Macheras reports that Saudi Arabia has granted that permission!

A nonstop flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi or Dubai over Saudi airspace should take just 3 hours in the air.


Alex and I were guests of an airline in Toulouse last year as they were selecting business class seats for their A330neo. He’s in the co-pilot seat for this takeoff and for this landing in the A330 full motion simulator that Airbus treated us to. He also reports that we may see flights this year!

He certainly has lots of sources in the industry, so this seems newsworthy to me.

Currently Saudi Arabia only allows Air India to fly to Israel over their airspace.

It’s unclear if this permission will only be granted to Emirates and Etihad or if it will also apply to Israeli airlines. Israir is working with a UAE businessman to operate nonstop flights over Saudi airspace as well.

Israel has invited UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to visit Jerusalem. Hopefully this will usher in a new era of peace and official relationships with Israel throughout the Middle East!

Thanks to this agreement, Israel is now working with countries like Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, and Sudan for normalized relationships. If all goes well, Saudi Arabia may not be far behind!


Flying from the US to Israel via Emirates or Etihad will add a good amount of time onto an already long flight to Israel, but you can also stopover in the UAE to break up the trip. They also have great airfare sales, which should help lower the cost to fly to Israel. Plus, they both have shower class 😀

For passengers flying to points east, Emirates and Etihad will be an outstanding option, though that is more bad news for El Al.

Will you fly on Emirates or Etihad to Israel? Which airline do you think will start flying to Israel first?

HT: D93

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30 Comments On "[Update: Now Confirmed] Saudi Arabia Reportedly Approves Israel-United Arab Emirates Flights To Overfly Their Airspace!"

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


Which one will fly the first A380 to Israel?


Do you think Emirates/Etihad would consider a JFK to TLV and then on to the UAE route? This would change the business/first class game on the New York to Israel route and would save people a lot of time instead of going first from New York to the UAE And then on to Tel Aviv.


Not likely for regular scheduled service, even as the UAE loves getting aviation treaties with such rights.

The transit security process at TLV isn’t going to magically improve for the many Muslims and other non-Jewish “brown” people just because the authoritarian, mass surveillance states of the UAE and Saudi Arabia become more public about relationships with Israel.

Emirates superfan

Well, that was fast

It\'s what happens when government is run like a bu

This has been in the works for decades. It took someone with guts to push the envelope and just make it official.


And giving the Arabs some F35 planes.


The US Congress may have something to say about that. The US Congress still isn’t inclined to approve of sales of American weaponry of a sort to regional players if the US weaponry sales may provide a regional player military superiority of sort over Israeli capability.


I wonder if they will let people use the Etihad credit for the $275 Air Serbia cancelled flights to fly to Israel through UAE and not Serbia?


Looking forward to the post on flying to israel on emirates and etihad with miles!


Next up Bahrian, Oman & Saudi Arabia.

Have the whole area covered except for the terrorist funding nations (Iran & Qatar)


Saudi Arabia and the UAE fund terrorists. It’s now they fund terrorists that Israel is more willing to tolerate in their United opposition to Iran.


How much longer will this add to the trip?


Why couldn’t they fly through Iraq and Jordan?


They could
It’s just a lot of extra air time, fuel etc… makes the trip much longer


I don’t mean as opposed to going through SA in the future. I’m referring to the aid flight. It went through Iraq. So why did it need to go the long way till the top and then Turkey, what’s wrong with flying through Jordan?


I have the same question. In fact, it seems that flying through Iraq and then Jordan wouldn’t even have been that much longer than the direct route through Saudi Arabia- maybe just an hour or so. It’s actually the fact that they didn’t fly through Jordan which REALLY added the time. Israel and Jordan of course already have a peace deal and direct flights for over 25 years, this doesn’t make much sense?


Because I really want to arrive


I don’t know this Alex guy, but without proper sources it’s not worth much to me…

You know Bibi, he would have been first to post on his Facebook account if there was any such announcement to be made.

We all know they have been working on such an agreement, so unless he quotes Saudi authorities etc it’s just wishful thinking, imho


Netanyahu is many things but he is not a complete novice when it comes to how to diplomatically play with the Saudis too. The Saudis — unlike most of the other GCC monarchies — have a much larger concern with their much larger domestic population reacting negatively to more public espousal of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, so Netanyahu and that nasty Saudi crown prince MBS have a somewhat different dance to dance than the dance done by Israeli-Emirati partners.


And for the reason indicated above, this is now the public posture of the Saudis:



If adding at least 7 hours to the flight, I’d only consider it if traveling in the Residence


Emirates has some good flights with. Classic Rewards from Athens Ath and Milan mxp to Newark it would have been great if thay have a connecting flights on Israel


Maybe EK could codeshare for the EU-TLV segment for EK’s US-originating passengers flying EK directly from the US to the EU.


Approximately 5 years ago i had a Saudi Arabian working for me here in Canada. He wanted to go to Israel with me. I mentioned going there to tour the country and he said, i dont think you would make it out of the airport….

Machal Malot Dafna Legend

Theyll prob build a ballin shul in airport