LONDON - An El Al plane carrying US and Israeli officials on the first commercial passenger flight to the United Arab Emirates has entered Saudi airspace.
That shows at least the acquiescence of the kingdom in allowing Monday's three hour, 20 minute flight after Israel and the UAE began to normalize relations following a US-brokered agreement.
The step signals the possibility the kingdom could regularly allow these flights, which would make them viable commercially. Otherwise, flights would need to take seven hours to detour, burning more jet fuel.
Regular flights would open up more international travel opportunities for Israelis. The UAE is home to long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Despite US efforts, other Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia have yet to move toward open relations with Israel. Saudi King Salman’s government has signalled it stands by Palestinians obtaining an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital amid the UAE move of recognizing Israel.