El Al plane
El Al planeiStock

El Al has received official permission from Saudi Arabia to fly over its territory, Kan 11 reported Wednesday evening.

The approval went into effect on Wednesday, and will significantly shorten the duration of eastbound flights. At this stage, El Al is waiting to receive technical permission from Oman to begin operating the flights.

It is expected that beginning next week, the duration of flights to Thailand will drop to eight-and-a-half hours, and Arkia's flights to Mumbai and Goa will shorten to approximately five hours and fifteen minutes.

Last month, during US President Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia announced that it would open its airspace to all carriers.

Responding to the announcement, Israeli airlines El Al and Arkia requested that Saudi Arabia allow them to fly over its airspace immediately. However, Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to the airlines' request.

Later that month, El Al announced that it would begin operating direct flights from Tel Aviv to Australia, and that the airline would renew its plans to operate direct flights to Tokyo, Japan, provided that Saudi Arabia approved the flights' passage over its airspace.

In August 2020, El Al operated the first-ever Israeli commercial flight to fly over Saudi Arabia, after it was granted special permission to do so. That flight was headed for the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia granted it passage due to the fact that senior American officials were on board.