Another Gulf State Opens Airspace to Israel—Oman Allows All Countries to Fly Over
Following the move last summer by Saudi Arabia to allow Israel to fly over, Oman announced Thursday that it will allow all nations to fly in its airspace. Although Israel was not mentioned specifically, the move will cut hours off travel time and likely reduce fares for civilian flights going and coming from India, Thailand, and other Far East nations to the Holy Land.
“As part of the Sultanate of Oman’s continuous efforts to fulfill its obligations under the Chicago Convention of 1944, the Civil Aviation Authority affirms that the Sultanate’s airspace is open for all carriers that meet the requirements of the Authority for overflyuing [sic],” according to an official tweet from the Omani government.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took credit for the Omani move to open their skies, saying it all started because of his 2018 visit to the Sultanate. He said Israel can now become “the central transfer point between Asia and Europe.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the Omani announcement is “a historic decision that will shorten the journey to Asia, lower costs for Israelis, and help Israeli companies be more competitive.” Cohen also thanked the US government and Oman’s ruler, Haitham bin Tariq, for their efforts. Tariq, the US, and Israel have been negotiating for months over the deal.
Oman was once thought to be the next Arab nation to join the Abraham Accords. And while opening the airspace is a good sign, a positive shift in diplomatic relations between the two nations is far from certain. Oman has long served as a mediator between Iran and the West. The ties to Tehran are strong. Late last year, Oman’s parliament voted to “expand the criminalization and expand the boycott” of Israel. But we can now fly over their country, even if we can’t do much business there.