Saudi Arabia opens its airspace to ‘everyone’

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Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority “announces the decision to open the kingdom’s airspace to all air carriers” that meet the conditions it sets, it said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia announced today that it will open its airspace to “all air carriers”, a goodwill gesture to Israel, as US President Joe Biden is expected in the kingdom later today.

Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority “announces the decision to open the kingdom’s airspace to all air carriers” that meet the conditions it sets, it said on Twitter.

The civil aviation service added that it took this decision to “consolidate the kingdom’s position as a global aviation hub”.

Today’s announcement de facto lifts restrictions on flights departing from or bound for Israel.

Mr Biden will travel directly from Israel to Riyadh, unprecedented for the kingdom, which does not officially recognize the Jewish state.

In early May, Saudi Arabia announced its plan to become a global aviation hub and triple traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade.

Riyadh plans to invest $100 billion in the sector by 2030, establish a new national carrier and build a massive new airport in the Saudi capital.

Analysts, however, remain skeptical about whether Saudi airlines can compete with heavyweight names in the region such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.

A White House press release signed by the national security adviser of the US presidency, Jake Sullivan, says that Joe Biden welcomes the “historic decision” taken by Riyadh to open its airspace to “all air carriers without discrimination.”

“This decision paves the way for the Middle East region to become more integrated, stable and secure,” something “vital to the security and well-being of the United States and the American people, and to the security and well-being of Israel,” according to the text signed by Mr. Sullivan.

RES-EMP

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