Days of Palestine – Muscat
Oman refused to open its airspace to Israeli commercial flights according to Hebrew media, unlike some of its Gulf neighbors.
Israel would get official permission to fly over Oman soon after the flag carrier and other Israeli Airlines had been given permission to fly over Saudi Arabia, said the El AI Airlines chief executive Dina Ben-Tal last week.
“It’s not just Saudi Arabia. We need the full route to be approved,” Ben-Tal said.
However, Oman decided against the decision to allow the Israeli airplane to fly in its airspace.
Hebrew media claimed that Oman decided against the decision because of Iranian pressures.
Last month, Saudi Arabia said it would open its airspace to all air carriers. El Al and smaller Israeli rival Arkia later said they had applied for permission to fly over both Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Opening Saudi airspace to flights to and from Israel was a focus of US President Joe Biden’s Middle East tour last month.
Had Oman allowed Israeli carriers over its airspace, flights from Israel to India and Thailand would have been about two hours shorter and saved fuel costs. Present routes to those destinations bypass Saudi airspace by flying south over the Red Sea around Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s approval for Israel’s use of its airspace was slammed as a prelude to a normalization of ties between the two countries – a process Riyadh denies it is taking part in.
Oman has repeatedly said it will not normalize ties with Israel until Palestinians are granted a state of their own.