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Saudi opens airspace for Israeli carriers amid Biden visit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has opened its airspace to “all air carriers,” signalling the end of its longstanding ban on Israeli flights overflying its territory, as US President Joe Biden visits the region.

In a statement on Friday posted to Twitter, hours before US President Joe Biden is set to become the first US leader to fly directly from Israel to the kingdom, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said it was announcing “the decision to open the Kingdom’s airspace for all air carriers that meet the requirements of the Authority for overflying.”

The decision is “to complement the efforts aimed at consolidating the Kingdom’s position as a global hub connecting three continents and to enhance international air connectivity,” GACA said.

Meanwhile, Biden hailed the Saudi airspace decision, his national security advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“President Biden welcomes and commends the historic decision by the leadership of Saudi Arabia to open Saudi airspace to all civilian carriers without discrimination, a decision that includes flights to and from Israel,” that statement said.

The decision paves the way for a more integrated, stable, and secure Middle East region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of the United States and the American people, and for the security and prosperity of Israel, the statement added.

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