Update 3/23: Thanks to this agreement, El Al will fly 4 weekly flights to Mumbai (5.5 hour flight time) and 2 weekly flights to Delhi (6.5 hour flight time) starting in October. Tickets go on sale next month and flights will be 2-3 hours shorter than when they previously operated.
Update 3/15: Thanks to this agreement, El Al will fly 3 weekly flights to Melbourne starting in June 2024.
Update 2/26: El Al flight 83 took just 7 hours and 49 minutes, a whopping 3 hours less than yesterday’s Tel Aviv-Bangkok flight!
Update, 2/26: El Al flight 83 from Tel Aviv to Bangkok departing at 8:15pm IST tonight will be the first commercial Israeli flight to fly over Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the Strait of Hormuz!
Flight 81 from Tel Aviv to Bangkok yesterday took 10 hours and 44 minutes, but flight 83 is expected to take less than 8 hours!
זה קורה הערב: אל על קיבלה אישור רשמי מרשות התעופה של עומאן לטוס מעל למרחב האווירי של עומאן!
הטיסה הראשונה שתטוס בנתיב מקוצר היא טיסת ly083 מתל אביב לבנגקוק שתמריא בשעה 20:15 הערב. משך הטיסה המשוער כ-8 שעות pic.twitter.com/nrUD7stkHv
— Michal Raz Chaimovitz | 'מיכל רז חיימוביץ (@gotomichal) February 26, 2023
Originally posted on 2/23:
Israel-Arab geopolitical relations have come a long way since the Abraham Accords were announced in August 2020.
Previously it would have been unthinkable to have El Al have a full partnership with Abu Dhabi based Etihad or for there to be a kosher restaurant in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
I was just a curiosity for locals when I visited the UAE in 2017, while there are now 16 flights a day between Israel and the UAE. There are also now nonstop flights from Israel to places like Bahrain and Morocco.
One big missing piece remained, the ability for Israeli airlines to fly over Arab countries.
Saudi Arabia previously only allowed them to do that for flights to the UAE, but in July agreed to allow them to do that for all flights.
However, Oman remained a holdout, refusing to allow Israel to overfly them, and therefore blocking Israeli airlines from taking a shortcut over the Middle East.
But as of today, Oman has agreed to open their airspace to all carriers.
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. pic.twitter.com/jNaqqDxZM1
— هيئة الطّيران المدني (@CAAOMN) February 23, 2023
It’s hard to overstate how critical this is to Israeli air connectivity.
For example, this is how El Al currently has to fly in order to avoid Omani airspace when flying to Bangkok, adding significant travel time:
That flight will now looking something more like this, though without the stop in Muscat, Oman:
This agreement will thus shave several hours off flights from Israel to the east.
El Al will be able to fly on routes to India on narrowbody 737s that currently eat up valuable widebody flight time. While it’s always nice to fly on a widebody plane like El Al’s 787 Dreamliner, if you can turn an 8 hour flight into 5 hour flight, switching to a 737 is a no-brainer. That frees up a widebody airframe to operate a new route that El Al hopes to launch, such as Melbourne or Tokyo.
Thanks to the agreement with Saudi Arabia, a flight to Melbourne goes from an 18 hour ultra-long haul that pushes the 787 to its limits into a 15 hour flight that the plane is more than capable of handling.
El Al won’t be the only airline to benefit from the new airspace.
Israeli low-cost carrier Arkia is looking into flying to destinations like Sri Lanka and Thailand that weren’t previously tenable with its narrowbody fleet. The airline will fly to Goa, India starting in November, a route that will be hours shorter thanks to the new overfly rights. I still think it’s a pity that their widebody A330-900neo order never materialized, though I’m happy I got the chance to be taken to Airbus Headquarters when that order was still on the books.
Hopefully the shorter travel time will also translate into lower airfare as well.
I’d expect the first Omani overflight to happen in the next week or so.
The network planners at Arkia, El Al, and Israir must be having a field day with all the possibilities!
Hopefully this also leads towards full diplomatic relations between Oman and Israel.
What new routes do you hope to see operate to Tel Aviv?
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58 Comments On "[El Al Will Return To Delhi And Mumbai] Game Changer: Oman Agrees To Open Its Airspace To Israeli Airlines!"
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Tel Aviv to Melbourne!! We’ve been waiting for this!!
Will be amazing!
This is awesome wow. Does shorter flight times=smaller planes=less gas=cheaper flights?
And more competition.
So yes, it should.
Is it just a coincidence this is happening a week before El Al launches its Tokyo route?
Bibi Melech Yisroel chai chai v’kayam….
Do you want a melech that’s a mechalel Shabbos?
Do we get a choice who the Melech is? God already selected him. Anyway, Halacha will change radically after the Geulah. No more stringencies.
Trump melech America chai v’kayom…
You’ve got that right
So bottom line how long with the flight be to bangkok and Hong kong with this shorter route?
will it affect flights from ny
Australians all let us rejoice
Based on the map above, it looks like it barely enters Omani airspace anyway. Couldn’t it have just skirted it and flown over the UAE?
No, you either need to fly over Oman or Iran for that routing.
The strait of Hormuz actually has a center line of international space, which makes it possible but not practical.
Disputed by Iran and Oman.
I flew that way on Cathay Pacific from hkg to tlv
The ban was on Israeli carriers.
Why do you say so? The UAE has a water front to the Gulf of Oman, They could of flown over the UAE and continue above the Gulf of Oman, am I not correct?
If they could have, they would have.
SQ potentially launching direct flights?
Unrelated to this directly, would love to see a PHL-TLV flight
That’s not going to happen…plenty of better routings available. Heck – they’re adding a 2nd Miami/FLL flight before thinking about PHL
Does this make TLV a potential major hub in the Europe to Asia (not sure if that would be a good or bad thing).
First they need to have secure transit like every other airport outside of the US and Israel.
Do you see that coming soon?
I can’t see that happening, as Israel would have to defend itself extremely well if they do that.
Or Colombia. Was a disaster connecting in BAQ.
Major hubs don’t just happen, there is usually a force behind it such as a home airline. It takes lots of planning and the ability to cope for misconnecting passengers. It adds loads of costs and sometimes lower yield per mile. Not all revenue leads to profits.
Let’s hope not they can’t deal with current load of passengers
It’s now time for the next unthinkable
Iran airspace to Israeli carriers!
Unfortunately that airspace may be open soon to the IAF…
Unfortunately? With Yetziyat America imminent, we’ll all know the truth. Amalek isn’t just Iran. Trump is really an Ohev Yehudim.
So they basically gained nothing from being allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia from July till now
That was already allowed from before then.
Will this shorten the flight TLV-HKG as well?
Is this just for Israeli airlines? Does that mean that other airlines were already allowed to fly over Oman? Why was there no nonstop flight from Melbourne to TLV from Qantas?
“What new routes do you hope to see operate to Tel Aviv?”
Toronto… we sure miss the ElAl option. Can’t always get a flight when you want, AC is often so booked up. And of course only Dan lounge for flying AC. Besides only one kind of kosher meal on AC, not the few options on ElAl. Announcements in 4! languages on AC.
Flight time for tonight scheduled on 7h37..
I did this 2 months ago in over 10h30..
I never fully followed this. Why couldn’t LY fly over the UAE and into the Gulf of Oman (having never gone in Oman airspace)?
Is the entire Gulf of Oman Omani airspace?
What would happen if there was need to make an emergency landing while in enemy space, however?
It doesn’t fly through enemy airspace
Saudi Arabia and Oman are still technically Israel’s enemies. No diplomatic relations exist between them. While Israeli civilian airlines can now finally fly through their airspace in accordance with international law, what would happen if they had to land?
They don’t have official diplomatic relations but that doesn’t make them enemies. Nothing would happen if an LY airplane would land in either countries, otherwise LY wouldn’t fly over them
Wow great accomplishment! Finally we can go to Melbourne from tlv
Thank you hashem for
All the great things
Its says that it landed 2hrs and 17min early!
I’m not getting it
Check the above route, it didn’t even fly over Oman it flew over UAE and that’s not new
Can anyone explain?
Oman and Iran claim the airspace above the Strait of Hormuz.
This is great news.
I heard that it was announced today that elal will start flights 3 times a week to Melbourne
Starting in June 2024