Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that Israeli airliners will be permitted to fly directly to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), shortly after Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to “all countries” flying to and from the UAE.
“Israeli planes and those from all countries will be able to fly directly from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and fly back,” Netanyahu said in a video statement in his office, adding the move was a “tremendous breakthrough.”
The direct flights will reduce the flight time and costs as well as boost tourism and the Israeli economy, he noted.
The announcement came after Israel’s flag carrier El Al on Monday used Saudi territory in an overflight for the first time. In a flight, approved by Riyadh, Israeli and U.S. delegations flew to Abu Dhabi for a two-day discussion in the wake of a U.S.-brokered normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel announced on Aug. 13.