Last Updated: August 06, 2022, 16:00 IST
Cathay Pacific and Air Seychelles have overflown Saudi Arabia for Israel flights for the first time, aviation data showed on Thursday after Riyadh announced last month it would open its airspace to all airlines, paving the way for more overflights to and from Israel.
Opening Saudi airspace to flights to and from Israel was a focus of U.S. President Joe Biden’s tour of the countries, which do not have formal ties, last month. Riyadh agreed in principle. Israel said implementation could take weeks or more.
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,” it said in a statement.
“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.