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Air India considers a direct flight to Tel Aviv from Mumbai

Air India is examining the feasibility of Operating a direct flights from Mumbai to Israel's capital Tel Aviv  amidst issues of securing overflying rights from Arab Countries that could decide the duration of the flight, according to airline sources.

While the government owned airliner has been expanding its international presence, efforts to start services to Israel is yet to take off. There were plans to commence a direct flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv earlier this year but could not take off due to various reasons. Relations between the two countries have improved following Prime Minister Modi's visit to that country this year. He was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit that country since independence.

Air India has started services to 15 international cities the latest being the direct flight to Danish capital Copenhagen. The flight proposal to Tel Aviv ran into rough weather as duration of the flight from Delhi worked out to nine hours. The proposal  was not commercially viable it was dropped.

The latest proposal under consideration is to introduce a direct flight from Mumbai which will cut short the flying time to seven hours. The flight duration could come down further if the Airlines manages to secure the permission to fly over Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In March this year, Air India had announced that it would start flights to Israel in May with three weekly flights on the New Delhi-Tel Aviv route. However, the plan did not materialise.

During a visit to Israel in July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said direct flights would be launched between Delhi, Mumbai and Tel Aviv to encourage people-to- people contacts.

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