First Israeli Commercial Flight Enter Airspace over Oman3 min read
On Sunday night, an El Al flight that took off from the Tel Aviv airport became the first commercial flight to cross the airspace over Oman and headed towards Bangkok.
This was three days after the decision from the Gulf Sultanate, which had been long-awaited, about allowing overflights for airliners of all countries, including the Jewish nation.
The flight to the capital of Thailand usually takes Israeli airlines about 10.5 hours, but it was shortened to 7 hours and 49 minutes.
The national carrier of Israel said that the journey had reduced by 2.5 hours. Two hours later, another El Al flight took off for Bangkok.
A flight tracker website revealed that the second flight had taken about eight hours and two minutes. The same website indicated that two more flights were scheduled to take the same route on Monday night.
As for other flights, they were expected to continue using the longer route around the Arabian Peninsula.
The first flight’s pilots made a video from the cockpit, hailing it as a historic moment before taking off.
One of the pilots said that they would fly over the Arabian Peninsula, including Oman, marking it as the first time for the Israeli flag to be flying over the country.
The pilot also added that their flight times would reduce by about 2 and a half hours, which was quite significant.
He also said that they were introducing the fast line to the Far East and Bangkok and were looking forward to it.
On Thursday, Oman had announced that they were opening the Gulf Sultanate’s airspace for all carriers, which indicated that Israeli civilian flights would also be permitted to use its airspace.
The CAA of Oman made the announcement via a tweet in which it said that it was trying to fulfill the obligations that were highlighted in the Chicago Convention of 1944.
Therefore, the Civil Aviation Authority said that they had decided to open their airspace for all flights, as long as the carriers fulfill the requirements it has laid out for overflying.
The CAA did not mention Israel by name in its announcement.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said that this development could help the Jewish country become the central transfer point between Europe and Asia.
The premier further said that it was his visit to Oman in 2018 when they had begun the work of opening the country’s skies for Israel.
Eli Cohen, the Foreign Minister, hailed the decision as a historic one and added that it would reduce the journey to Asia, bring down costs for Israelis and would allow companies to become more competitive.
He also thanked the US government and Haitham bin Tariq, the ruler of Oman, for the talks they had had with the Foreign Ministry in Israel.
Last year in July, Saudi Arabia had also opened its airspace in the same manner, ahead of the visit of the US President Joe Biden.
This development could also bring down ticket prices, as airlines would be able to save fuel