'We were very pleased' -Israel minister on Saudi airspace move

STORY: Prior to Riyadh's announcement on Friday (July 15), Israeli airlines could overfly Saudi territory to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain only. Dropping this restriction on access to Saudi airspace means they will be able to use it to reach Asia too.

"It will come into action when the two civil aviation authorities speak to each other, something that might take some time but is under process already," Michaeli said.

In the absence of open relations between the countries, and given talks on including Oman in the expanded corridor, Michaeli said implementation could take several weeks at least.

"It's a better situation than full alienation and zero communication. So whatever we can achieve, we should go for it and work toward building more and more of a relationship and more and more trust," she said.

Both flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines and smaller rival Arkia have already applied for permission to fly over Saudi airspace, they said on Sunday, which would cut about 2.5 hours from flights to India and Thailand.

Present routes to those popular destinations bypass Saudi Arabia airspace by flying south over the Red Sea around Yemen.

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