In another example of the Israeli/Saudi/Egyptian axis:
Saudi Arabia says it will open its airspace to all air carriers, paving the way for more overflights to and from Israel – a further sign that relations between the two countries are warming.
The announcement of an open-skies policy by Riyadh will mean shorter flights from Asia to Israel, as airlines serving those routes will no longer be required to take long detours around Saudi Arabia en route to Israel. Earlier on Thursday, a US official told Reuters that Saudi Arabia would soon permit direct charter flights from Israel for Muslims participating in the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca as well.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, and the kingdom does not recognize Israel as a state – one possible reason why the Saudi statement did not refer to Israel by name.
Behind the scenes, however, the two sides have been working together on security issues for some time, as both are concerned by the growing influence of their common enemy Iran in the region.
Saudi Arabia has actually been allowing the use of its airspace for flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain since its two Gulf neighbors established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 under US mediation.