Air India completes historic first flight to Israel over Saudi skies

5 stunning stats about airlines
5 stunning stats about airlines

The first-ever flight to Israel over Saudi Arabia has been completed.

Air India conducted its maiden flight from India's capital New Delhi to the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on Thursday, the airline said.

The plane flew over Oman, Saudi Arabia and Jordan before landing at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, according to tracking site Flightradar.

The flight took off from New Delhi at 6.10 p.m. local time and completed the 2,520-mile journey in a little over seven hours, a spokesperson for India's national carrier told CNN.

The aircraft, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, carried 110 passengers to Tel Aviv, the spokesperson added. The return flight from Tel Aviv had 200 passengers on board.

Related: Saudi skies are now open to flights to Israel

Air India's use of Saudi airspace is a historic first. Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official diplomatic relations, and the latter has never before allowed flights to Israel to use its airspace.

But the historic animosity has given way to cautious, if often denied, cooperation based on a shared enmity towards Iran.

Related: For sale -- India's loss-making national airline

The Indian state-owned airline is the only one that has so far been allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia to Israel, a fact that has upset Israel's national carrier.

El Al slammed what it called a "discriminatory" decision by Saudi authorities earlier this month, saying its Indian counterpart is gaining a "significant and unfair advantage."

The Israeli airline currently operates flights from Tel Aviv to India's financial hub Mumbai, a shorter route that takes eight hours and has to skirt the Arabian Peninsula.

Personal Finance

CNNMoney Sponsors