Netanyahu said Saudi Arabia had not granted overfly permission to Israeli national carrier El Al, which operates four weekly flights to Mumbai. Air India has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia over the matter, said Netanyahu. To avoid Saudi Arabia, it has to take a detour over the Red Sea and around the Arabian Peninsula - which lifts the total flight duration to around 8 hours.
Reportedly, the announcement was made during Netanyahu's interaction with Israeli reporters after he met US President Donald Trump at Blair House in Washington DC.
"We have yet to receive anything from authorities", Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar told The Times of Israel.
Israel has no diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, which does not allow use of its airspace for flights to and from the Jewish state. During the India trip, Netanyahu had said that an "efficient and direct route" between the countries was an important goal.
But an Air India spokesman denied the Prime Minister's comments several hours later, stressing they had not received any confirmation and had only submitted a request for a flight along that route.
After reports of the new arrangement first surfaced in January, analysts said lifting the 70-year-old airspace ban would further strengthen ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, U.S. allies with a shared concern over Iranian influence in the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that Saudi Arabia gave Air India permission to fly over its territory on its new routes to and from Tel Aviv, according to Reuters.
In the past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced new flight service connecting Delhi, Mumbai and Tel Aviv when he visited Israel previous year.