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Israel national carrier takes government to court because Indian airliner flies over Saudi Arabia Open in fullscreen

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Israel national carrier takes government to court because Indian airliner flies over Saudi Arabia

Air India has a competitive edge, El Al argues [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 March, 2018

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Israeli national carrier El Al will take the government to court over an Air India flight to the country that passes over Saudi air space.
Israel's national airline will take the government to court over rival Air India's ability to fly over Saudi airspace on its New Delhi-Tel Aviv flights.

El Al argues the Indian airliner has an unfair disadvantage due to its ability to fly over Saudi Arabia, a country that Israel has no relations with.

When El Al was privatised in the 1990s, the government promised to "encourage fair and healthy competition" between Israeli airlines and their foreign competitors.

This is being undermined with the new arrangment that allows the Indian airliner to take a shorter route to Israel - shaving two hours off the flight time - thus cutting down on time and costs.

On Wednesday, El Al filed a case at El Al Israel's Supreme Court against the government, Civil Aviation Authority,  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, and Air India, The New York Times reported.

El Al is demanding Air Indian flights be halted until Israeli airlines are also allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia.

The new Air India route follows historic and controversial negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, two countries that have been at loggerheads for centuries. It is supposed to reflect the improving relations between the two countries.

Netanyahu has said he sees "huge" potential for Israel from the flights over Saudi airspace with "long-term implications".

The first flight Air India flight over Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states landed last week.

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