El Al concerned by Saudi approval of India-Israel air route

El Al appeals to Supreme Court, protesting Air India's flyover rights in Saudi Arabia.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

El Al airplane
El Al airplane
Photo: Moshe Shai / Flash90

Israel's El Al Airline appealed on Wednesday to the Supreme Court, protesting the permission given to Air India to fly over Saudi Arabian airspace.

In their appeal, the airline demanded all companies have equal rights.

El Al currently operates an India service to Mumbai that takes a detour over the Red Sea to avoid flying over Saudi Arabia and Iran.

As Saudi Arabia officially does not recognize the Jewish state, all planes flying to and from Israel were banned from flying through Saudi Arabian airspace, adding hours to each flight from Asia and increasing fuel costs.

On Thursday, Air India launched the first flight to Israel allowed to cross Saudi airspace. The flight took 7 hours. The new route is the shortest direct flight between the two countries.

According to El Al officials, Air India's new route gives them an advantage, allowing them to save fuel and cut costs. Competition, El Al officials said repeatedly, is a good thing - but only if it is fair competition.