TEL AVIV, Israel, May 11 (UPI) -- An off-duty Saudi Arabian Airlines plane was seen receiving routine maintenance at an Israeli airport, causing the airline to cancel its contract with a Portuguese firm.
The airline, known as Saudia, 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.
A Saudi plane arriving in Israel was a novelty noticed by Israeli media.
"Such landing or operation process should take place in a country that shares diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enable Saudia staff and the Civil Aviation authority to conduct inspection and follow up on the maintenance operation at any time," the Saudi newspaper Arab News reported, quoting the contract.