Israeli media were stunned when a Saudi Airlines Airbus A330 landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport two weeks ago. It had supposedly landed for mechanical reasons and had no passengers on board, returning from Brussels. Media speculated of an in-fight emergency. The sight was rare as Israel has no formal diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and no direct flights (or indirect flights) operated between the two countries.
Well, UPI is now reporting that the plane was simply receiving routine maintenance as part of a contract with a Portuguese firm. However, Saudi brass were unaware of the maintenance plan and have now canceled their service with the company.
The airline said Hi Fly, a company leasing planes to the airline, landed the plane, with prominent Saudia markings, at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, a violation of its contract. Saudi Arabia has no official relationship with Israel, and has led the Arab boycott against Israel since the 1970s. The plane, an Airbus A330, was serviced at the airport last week by Bedek, an Israeli company contracted by Israeli Aircraft industries, whose spokesman said “ongoing and routine maintenance” was among the services provided at the airport.