The winds of change are blowing over the Middle East. The Indian National carrierAir India has been given permission by the Saudi government to overfly its airspace for direct flights from New Delhi to Tel Aviv. In addition, Jordan And Oman also give permission to Air India to overfly their airspace. Republic news has reported that the historic flight took off from Delhi at 1800 hours and landed at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv at 22:30

Air India

Air India will use the Boeing Dreamliner which carries 260 passengers. The Israeli government is obviously delighted at this development.

The Israeli tourist minister has said this signaled a thaw in relations with Saudi Arabia and he was of the opinion that fares between India and Israel would be reduced as well as the flying time. in addition, travelers from the Far East and Australia would be able to go directly to Israel by the shortest possible route

Salman Bin Saud

Allowing Air India to fly directly to Israel has been made possible by the new ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Salman Bin Saud. The prince is a man who is trying to take Saudi Arabia forward from the clutches of obscurantism with missionary zeal. For the last 70 years, the Arab States were not allowing any flights to overfly their airspace to Israel. The recent decision of the Saudi government marks a sea change in the thinking of the Saudi government.

The Israelis are hopeful that this will mark a new beginning between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Salman Bin Saud is already in the USA in one of his longest trips to try and refurbished the Saudi image.

Direct air link

The direct air link between India and Israel was the pet project of the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. In his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the direct flight between New Delhi and Tel Aviv was discussed.

Air India will now fly three times a week to Tel Aviv from New Delhi. The traveling time from India to Israel has also been cut by 2 hours and 10 minutes. Israel has a direct flight from Tel Aviv to Mumbai, but it has to follow a circuitous route and takes more time. The Israeli carrier has not got the clearance for the flight as yet from the Saudi government.The opening of the air route to Israel is part of a more open policy towards Israel.

The previous Congress government had not followed up relations with Israel for fear of antagonizing the Palestine Arabs.

Modi is a decisive man and after he became prime minister was the first Indian PM to visit Israel and Indo -Israel relations have become stronger.