Saudi Arabia permits Air India flights to Israel use its airspace

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JERUSALEM
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A new Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft is displayed at Mumbai airport in this May 24, 2007 file photo (Reuters Photo)
A new Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft is displayed at Mumbai airport in this May 24, 2007 file photo (Reuters Photo)

Saudi Arabia has granted India's national carrier permission to operate direct flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv -- through Saudi airspace -- for the first time, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Wednesday.

The decision, which will come into effect next March, means the duration of Air India's flights from India to Israel will be shortened by two-and-a-half hours, the paper reported.

The new route, the newspaper added, will allow the airline to reduce fuel costs -- savings the airline has vowed to pass on to consumers.

For 70 years, Saudi airspace has remained closed to Israeli aircraft and to all flights bound for the Jewish state.

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