First Air India flight arrives at Ben-Gurion Airport

Greek and Israeli officials encourage Tel Aviv firms to invest in Greece

We are in a new era, ' said Israeli tourism minister Yariv Levin, who spoke to the press in terms of strengthening and rekindling India-Israel relationships.

During a May 2017 Middle East tour, US President Donald Trump flew from Riyadh to Tel Aviv on Air Force One in what is believed to have been among the few direct flights from Saudi Arabia to Israel.

Many Arab and Islamic nations do not recognise Israel and, therefore, disallow airlines from using their airspace for flight services to that country.

An Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner plane receives a water cannon statue upon its landing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 22, 2018.

The ministry said the route would also lower fares and boost investment and tourism from India to Israel.

The first flight in Air India's direct five-hour flight route between Delhi and Tel Aviv, passing through Saudi airspace is scheduled to take off and land at Ben Gurion International Airport Thursday evening, according to airport schedules. "But to allow participation from domestic airlines - many of which have negative net worth - it has also been made a decision to allow them to bid provided they form a consortium that has a net worth of over Rs 5,000 crore", a senior government official told the newspaper. Saudi officials could not immediately be reached. An Air India cabin supevisor slapped a flight attendant onboard over wrongly served non-veg meal. Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and like much of the Arab world, the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.

Likely combinations could include Jet Airways with Air France-KLM and Vistara along with investor Singapore Airlines. Those flights take around 7 hours and 40 minutes, following a Red Sea route that swings toward Ethiopia to avoid Saudi airspace.

El Al has asked industry group IATA to help it access Saudi Arabia's airspace. Ultimately this (El Al overflights) will happen too, ' he said. "It's small but significant", he said.

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