First Israel-Abu Dhabi flight to fly over Saudi airspace

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Israeli and American officials have announced that the first Abu Dhabi to El Al flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates will begin to fly over Saudi Arabia.

While disclosing this on Monday August 31, 2020, one of the officials said that will be the first-ever direct commercial flight from Israel to the UAE and the first Israeli airline to fly over Saudi airspace,

The Israeli Airline Pilots Association said the flight will take three hours and 13 minutes,

“The airline likely received a green light to fly over Saudi Arabia due to the American officials on board, but El Al will not admit it openly for security reasons,” an El Al pilot said

The plane designated for the flight was adorned with the word “peace” in Arabic, Hebrew and English in honor of the historic moment.

Among those expected to be on the flight are White House Special Adviser Jared Kushner, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, US Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz, US Iran envoy Brian Hook, an Israeli delegation led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat and top Israeli officials in the areas of tourism, trade and energy.

Defense officials will not take part in the delegation.

They will go to Abu Dhabi separately in the coming weeks after the UAE sought to have the first public meetings with Israelis be about civilian matters.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) denied a report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had removed Defense Ministry representatives from the planned special flight to the UAE without consulting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The matter was fully coordinated with Gantz, the PMO and Defense Ministry said.

Gantz met with Kushner and the American delegation on Sunday.

They discussed maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge as the US considers Abu Dhabi’s request to buy F-35 stealth jets and other weapons systems following the UAE’s normalization of ties with Israel.

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