Saudi Arabia opens its airspace to all air carriers

Saudi Arabia announced on Friday it will open its airspace “for all air carriers that meet requirements of the authority for overflying.”

The decision was taken “to complement the efforts aimed at consolidating the Kingdom’s position as a global hub connecting three continents and to enhance international air connectivity,” a statement from the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said.

The announcement, come ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Jeddah, ends the ban on flights to and from Israel. Biden is thus the first U.S. leader to travel directly from Israel to the Saudi kingdom.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan commended the move, attributing the progress to Biden’s diplomacy in the Middle East.

The US administration hailed Saudi Arabia’s decision on the opening of its airspace, saying it “paves the way for a more integrated, stable, and secure Middle East region.”

After visiting Israel and then the West Bank this week to meet with Palestinian leaders, Biden’s next leg of the trip in Saudi Arabia will include a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt.

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