In Brief: Oman opens airspace to Israeli commercial flights for first time

Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq Al Said > US State Department, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

An El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Bangkok become the first Israeli airliner to cross over Oman’s airspace on Sunday night, three days after the Gulf state opened its skies to aircraft from all countries, including the Jewish state.

The journey to Thailand, which would normally take 10.5 hours, was reduced to less than 8, according to Israel’s national carrier.

The flight was followed two hours later by another El Al plane to Bangkok.

In a video from the cockpit, the pilots of the first flight hailed the “historic flight” shortly before take-off.

“We will fly over the Arabian peninsula, over Oman, the Israeli flag will fly over Oman for the first time”, one of the pilots said.

Oman announced on Thursday that it was opening its airspace to all carriers, allowing Israeli civilian flights to cross its airspace for the first time.

The announcement did not mention Israel by name, but rather “affirmed that the Sultanate’s airspace is open for all carriers that meet the requirements of the Authority for overflying”.

Last July saw Saudi Arabia open its skies to all commercial flights for the first time following a visit by US president Joe Biden.

Oman is widely viewed as a candidate to normalise relations with Israel following the 2020 Abraham Accords.