The United States and Saudi Arabia have signed an Open Skies agreement that will “permit unrestricted air service by the airlines of both countries between and beyond the other’s territory.”

The agreement means Saudi airlines may fly from any point in the kingdom to any point in the United States, and that U.S. airlines may fly from any point here to any airport in Saudi Arabia.

The deal was signed May 28 in Jeddah by U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James B. Smith and Dr. Faisal bin Hamad Al-Sugair, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Director of the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

In addition to permitting each nations’ airlines to provide unrestricted air service to any point in the other country, the agreement also eliminates restrictions on how often the carriers can fly, the kind of aircraft they can use and the prices they charge.

“Saudi Arabia is a valued and close partner of the United States,” Kerry Humphrey of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs told “This agreement not only reflects the excellent state of our bilateral relations, but also promises to facilitate further development of those relations with regard to tourism and trade.”

Fifteen of the 19 men who hijacked and crashed American planes on Sept. 11, 2001 were from Saudi Arabia.

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