The journey between Tel Aviv and Asia will take up to two hours less because to the air corridor over the Arabian Peninsula.
According to Reuters, Oman has joined Saudi Arabia in allowing overflights for Israeli carriers. Israel now has a new air corridor to use on its commercial routes to Asia and Oceania after the Omani Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced on Thursday that its airspace was officially accessible to all airlines.
“The Civil Aviation Authority declares that the Sultanate of Oman’s airspace is available for all carriers that meet the Authority’s conditions for overflying,” as part of the Sultanate of Oman’s ongoing efforts to uphold its obligations under the 1944 Chicago Convention.
According to i24NEWS, the agreement appears to have been in the works for a number of months, with talks to bolster ties between Jerusalem and Muscat starting in November 2022. Over the past few years, Israel has established relationships with some of its Middle Eastern neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, which confirmed it would allow air travel for Israeli-based airlines beginning in July 2022, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait under the Abraham Accords in 2020.
With the declaration, Israel’s access to the Arabian Peninsula has been made official, allowing for up to a two-hour time reduction on flights to Asia and the possibility of El Al’s development into Southeast Asia and Oceania from its hub at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). Notwithstanding the declaration from Oman, formal connections between Israel and the Arab world are still tepid.
Eli Cohen, the foreign minister of Israel, praised the Sultan of Oman for his decision and thanked President Joe Biden and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said for expediting the clearance. He also congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Cohen continued,
“It’s a historic choice that will speed up travel to Asia, reduce expenses for Israelis, and boost the competitiveness of Israeli carriers. For the Israeli economy and for Israeli tourists, this is a crucial and historic choice.”
Diplomacy on airplanes
After the development of stronger ties in 2022, Israel and Turkey reopened their air bridge earlier this month, enabling for the signing of a bilateral civil aviation agreement in July. This was the first time in 16 years.
With better ties, Tel Aviv has gained a number of links to Middle Eastern nations, with carriers like EgyptAir, Emirates, flydubai, Etihad, and Gulf Air providing flights to Cairo (CAI), Dubai (DXB), Abu Dhabi (AUH), and Bahrain (BAH). While Tel Aviv-based Israir connects to Bahrain, Dubai, and Egyptian tourist hotspot Sharm El Sheikh (SSH) during the summer, flag airline El Al also offers flights to Dubai.
Despite opposition from pro-Palestine activists in Doha, Qatar declared during the December FIFA World Cup that it will allow direct flights between Tel Aviv and Doha (DIA) for the competition. Despite the fact that the two countries’ brief link appeared to be beneficial, direct services were halted, and Qatar has not yet repaired its relations with Israel.