Air Seychelles announced this week that it became the first airline to receive approval for flights over Saudi Arabia on the route from Israel.
This comes after Saudi Arabia announced last month it would open its airspace to all airlines, paving the way for more overflights to and from Israel reports Reuters.
In a press release, Air Seychelles said it “became the first airline to receive permission from the Saudi Arabian authorities to overfly their territory”, with Wednesday evening’s Tel Aviv to Mahe flight.
The new route “means a reduction in fuel burn between 500kg-1000kg per flight (and that) the aircraft can now carry an additional 20 passengers per flight,” the airline said.
“The Saudi air traffic controllers were extremely helpful and allowed us to navigate with optimal conditions for passenger comfort,” the airline quoted the flight’s captain as saying.
The first flight from Tel Aviv to the island country of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean took off on Wednesday from Ben-Gurion International Airport and crossed over Jordanian and Saudi airspace, according to the airline’s press release. The flight takes 6 hours and 20 minutes.
Air Seychelles operates three weekly direct flights between Tel Aviv and Mahe, the capital of the Republic of Seychelles. It was previously forced to fly over international waters taking an indirect route at suboptimal altitude. The flights are carried out using Airbus A320neo.
Saudi Arabia has allowed airlines, including Israeli carriers, to overfly its territory on flights to and from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after the two Gulf states were established with Israel.
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