At the last minute, Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. have received approval from Saudi Arabia to fly over its airspace on its route between Tel Aviv and Dubai. The launching of its Tel Aviv – Dubai route took place this morning (December 1) with 170 passengers on board its maiden flight between Israel and the UAE. Israir will operate two daily flights from today.
Arkia is due to operate two daily flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai from Thursday and El Al is scheduled to launch two daily flights on the route from December 13 – and until the announcement a few hours ago from Saudi Arabia all three Israeli carriers were left in potentially embarrassing uncertainty as to whether they would be able to transport the thousands of passengers booked on their Dubai flights.
Low-cost UAE carrier flydubai, which had Saudi permission, already launched its Tel Aviv – Dubai flights last week and plans operating three daily flights.
Without permission to fly over Saudi airspace, the three and a half hour Tel Aviv – Dubai flight would take seven hours and would not be practical for Israir’s smaller aircraft, let alone the 300-350 USD returns fares that have been sold.
Gil Stav, Israir’s VP of Marketing and Sales: “This is a historic event. After a few sleepless nights we received last night the good news that it is possible to fly over the skies of Saudi Arabia. And we are excited to be the first Israeli airline to operate a direct commercial flight to Dubai. Tomorrow we have three more flights. In total, we will reach 18 flights a week and we are proud to be a partner in a real historical event of the State of Israel”.