A month after Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's historic visit to India, national carrier Air India on Thursday inaugurated its direct flight service between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.
Air India Chairman Pradeep Singh Kharola and the Director of Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) Hassan Madah started this new journey by cutting a symbolic cake at the inauguration ceremony.
Air India's maiden flight to Tel Aviv took off from New Delhi at 6 PM on Thursday, heralding a new chapter in the India-Israel ties and ending a decades-old overfly ban by Saudi Arabia. The return flight will depart from Tel Aviv at 11:15 PM and will reach the national capital at 10:00 AM on Friday.
#FlyAI : #AirIndia scripts history with golden letters. Flt #AI139 flagged off by Shri Pradeep Singh Kharola, CMD Air India. #OVERWHELMING response #shubhyatra to passengers @DelhiAirport @TelAviv @danielocarmon @IsraelinIndia @israelinMumbai @IsraelBangalore @IsraelMFA @Israel pic.twitter.com/h9wwSA06ML— Air India (@airindiain) March 22, 2018
From April 1, AI139 will depart from Delhi at 4:50 PM and reach Tel Aviv at 9:45 PM, while the return flight will leave Tel Aviv at 11:15 PM to reach Delhi at 9:00 AM the next day. It will operate every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
This is the first time that a flight will reach Saudi Arabia covering a shorter route in mere seven hours. The move will boost Israel and India's tourism industry taking the diplomatic relations to a new level.
The Air India flight will fly over Oman, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to reach Israel. The state-run carrier will be operating its 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner on this route.
It may be noted that Israel's national carrier El Al has direct flights between Tel Aviv and Mumbai.