Saudi Arabia airspace opens to all UAE traffic after first Israeli flight

The move comes in response to a “request by the UAE” for flights to and from the country, including those from Israel.

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will now allow flights “from all countries” to cross its skies to reach the United Arab Emirates, a historic first that comes just days after the kingdom let the first direct Israeli commercial passenger flight use its airspace to reach the UAE.

The statement makes no mention of the kingdom’s rival, Iran, nor Qatar, which Saudi Arabia is currently boycotting. It is apparently a reference to the start of commercial flights from Israel to the UAE, as any direct flight between the two nations would need to use Saudi airspace to be commercially viable.

The Saudi Press Agency said the move comes in response to a “request by the UAE” for flights to and from the country.

Netanyahu discusses route

Shortly after the Saudi statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli planes and flights from all other countries can fly directly from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He made no mention of Saudi Arabia but a direct flight from Israel involves crossing Saudi skies.

“This will reduce the cost of flights, it will shorten the time, this will greatly develop tourism, it will develop our economy,” Netanyahu said in a video statement released by his office.

“These are the fruits of real peace,” he added.

In his video message, Netanyahu traced the future flight route on a map to indicate that Israeli planes would overfly Saudi territory.


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