Saudi Airport
Saudi Arabia has finally made the move to allow all airlines access to its airspace. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said it would open its airspace to all air carriers, paving the way for more overflights to and from Israel.

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said the country's airspace was now open to all carriers that meet its requirements for overflights, in line with international conventions that say there should be no discrimination between civil aircraft.

The decision will "complement the efforts aimed at consolidating the kingdom's position as a global hub connecting three continents and to enhance international air connectivity," GACA added in a statement.

Bypassing Saudi Arabian airspace had added to flight times and increased fuel burn on some services to and from Israel.

Israel welcomes the decision

Israeli Transport Minister Merav Michaeli on Friday welcomed the move as an "important step".

"Israeli flights will be allowed in Saudi Arabian airspace. This is an important step by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that will significantly shorten flight times and lower prices," Michaeli said in a statement.

Biden hails 'historic' Saudi move

US President Joe Biden welcomed the decision and said it was an important step towards building a more integrated Middle East region.

"Today, I will be the first president of the United States to fly from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As we mark this important moment, Saudi Arabias decision can help build momentum toward Israels further integration into the region, including with Saudi Arabia," Biden said in a statement.