Saudi Arabia announced it will allow flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to fly through Saudi airspace Wednesday, thanks to lobbying from the Trump administration, according to Axios.
The UAE had requested that Saudi Arabia allow commercial flights to fly over Saudi airspace, as previously reported by Axios. Allowing for commercial travel and tourism between the UAE and Israel is part of the two countries’ ongoing efforts to normalize relations after the Trump administration negotiated a peace deal between the two in August. (RELATED: Report: First Commercial Flight Between Israel And UAE To Take Off Monday)
Watch: White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner shares a “behind the scenes” video on board the El Al aircraft, the first commercial flight to fly from Israel to the UAE.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 31, 2020
President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner was reportedly also involved in helping broker and bring about the commercial aviation agreement, meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince on Tuesday.
The UAE’s request was no small ask of Saudi Arabia, as Saudi Arabia does not have any formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Some have speculated, however, that Saudi Arabia and Israel are close to normalizing relations in response to a more aggressive Iran.
Saudi Arabia obliged. The first-ever flight flown by a commercial airliner between Israel’s Ben Gurion airport and the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi carried an Israeli delegation, Jared Kushner and other Trump advisers through Saudi airspace on Monday without a hitch, Axios reported.
The Tuesday return flight to Tel Aviv was also granted permission to fly over Saudi Arabia, carrying only the Israeli delegation.
The Saudi civil aviation authority announced Wednesday that the policy will continue and be expanded to all incoming and outgoing flights to the UAE not just from Israel, but from any country in the world, according to Axios.