India Thursday introduced a direct flight to Israel after a gap of nearly 18 years.
The thrice-a-week flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv will be operated by state-owned carrier Air India every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. And the national carrier is flying its premier Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes on the route, officials said.
Though a number of Islamic nations usually do not give permission for airlines heading to Israel to use their airspace, Saudi Arabia has broken away from convention, enabling the Air India flight to take a shorter route.
"The use of Saudi airspace will save both time and money. Air India will try to cash in on Israeli tourists coming to the coastal state of Goa famous for its beaches and the hills of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh," an official said.
Air India's Airbus A310 planes flew directly to Israel from Delhi until mid-1990s and Mumbai until early 2000 after which the flights were withdrawn for commercial reasons.