UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia grants approval for UAE-Israel flights to use its airspace

DUBAI/ JERUSALEM, Sept 2- Flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates ver Saudi Ae to fly over Saudi Arabia after the kingdom on Wednesday said all services to and from the UAE can cross its airspace. Saudi Arabia mostly bans flights to and from Israel from using its airspace, though since 2018 it has permitted Air India to fly over the country to Tel Aviv.

DUBAI/JERUSALEM, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Flights between Israel

and the United Arab Emirates ver Saudi

Ae to fly over Saudi

Arabia after the kingdom on Wednesday said all services to and

from the UAE can cross its airspace.

Saudi Arabia mostly bans flights to and from Israel fromusing its airspace, though since 2018 it has permitted Air Indiato fly over the country to Tel Aviv.

The decision, which the kingdom’s aviation authority saidcame at the request of the UAE, follows a historic agreementlast month between Abu Dhabi and Israel to normalise ties.

All flights to and from the UAE can use Saudi airspace,state news agency reported, citing the aviation authority,without mentioning Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without citingSaudi Arabia, said Israeli planes can fly directly to the UAE,tracing the flight path on a map with his finger over thekingdom.

The decision cuts flying time between the Middle East statesby several hours.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhanal-Saud said shortly after the airspace report that thekingdom’s position in support of a Palestinian state with EastJerusalem as its capital had not changed.

Emirati and Israeli officials will allow their citizens tovisit each other’s countries once they normalise ties and havesaid there would be direct service.

Those travelling from Israel will gain better access tohundreds of global destinations via Abu Dhabi and Dubai hubsonce flights launch.

Israel’s El Al this week flew through Saudi airspacecarrying U.S. and Israeli delegations from Tel Aviv to AbuDhabi, the first official flight by an Israeli carrier over thekingdom. The return flight also used Saudi airspace.(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Maayan Lubell, writing byAlexander Cornwell; editing by John Stonestreet and SteveOrlofsky)

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