Delhi-Tel Aviv route launched via Saudi airspace
Historic: Riyadh opens its skies each route to Israel -2 VIDEO
B-787 Air India Dreamliner with 256 seats landed at the "Ben Gurion" at the conclusion of the inaugural flight
"We are living a historical moment: a new era has been inaugurated, and I am sure we will see many other Indian tourists coming to Israel, as many more Israelis will visit India": with these enthusiastic words Israeli tourism minister Yariv Levin welcomed last Thursday at 10:15pm local time the arrival at "Ben Gurion" Tel-Aviv airport of the B-787 Dreamliner plane of Air India from Delhi, inaugural flight AI139 of the India-Israel direct route operated crossing the air space of Saudi Arabia.
The opening granted by Riyadh -which so far had denied its airspace to aircraft to the Jewish State- was decisive: in this way, Air India can serve as the shortest route to cover the destination, covering the distance in 7 hours and 15 minutes, more than two hours less than the time taken by the only airline that flies between the two countries, the Israeli El Al, forced to "get around" the Saudi airspace passing the Red Sea.
That of Riyadh is interpreted as a great sign of relaxation despite not having official diplomatic relations with Tel-Aviv. In fact there are several Arab and Islamic Nations that do not recognize Israel, and therefore do not allow carriers to use their skies to make connections from-to that country.
The extraordinary event testifies to the new approaching between India and Israel, sealed by the visits of Indian premier Narendra Modi in the Jewish State, and by the Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu in India. Just the latter had recently asked his Indian counterpart to increase the connections between the respective countries to promote tourism and trade, but the Indian companies had set a condition that the route was shortened to cut costs. Israel therefore asked Riyadh to grant its airspace, and the latter accepted it, after some hesitation.
In this regard, Levin said: "We have to to be very cautious: this is really a very important and very delicate first step. I hope that over time we will have a more and more normal relationship with our neighbor in this region -Riad, Ed notice-. 'India introducing this flight on Saudi airspace has played a very important role not only between our two countries, but also between Israel and other Nations in this region". And here the strategic reference to the anti-Iran "alliance" in the area is intrinsic.
"Many efforts have been made in the last two years, with a strong vision and support for the initiative of the prime ministers of both States. An initiative that will strengthen relations between the two countries in various sectors, including political, commercial and culture", said Pavan Kapoo, Indian ambassador to Israel, said it.
The route, finally informed among other things the CEO of Air India Pradeep Kharola, will have a three-weekly frequency, and is also the first direct connection of Air India between the two States. After the inaugural flight in the last days, the route is fully operational from yesterday on March 25, when the Summer schedule came into force.
In the videos below: the landing of the Air India's Dreamliner and the welcome with the water cannons at the "Ben Gurion" airport in Tel-Aviv; the present authorities of both countries applaud the extraordinary event:
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