Flights between Tel Aviv and Bangkok, Thailand, just got three hours shorter thanks to the government of Oman who made the long-awaited decision to open its airspace to aircraft from all countries, including Israel.
On Sunday, an EL AL Israel Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Bangkok flew through Oman’s airspace, becoming the first Israeli airline to do so, three days after Oman’s announcement.
Normally, the journey from Tel Aviv to Bangkok takes 10.5 hours. On Sunday, the plane touched down in Bangkok after just seven hours and 49 minutes.
In a video from the cockpit, the pilot said…
“We will fly over the Arabian Peninsula, over Oman, the Israeli flag will fly over Oman for the first time.
“Our flight will become shorter by two and a half hours, which is very significant. We are launching the fast line to Bangkok and the Far East in general. We are very happy and excited to be here.”
Two hours later, another EL AL flight took off from Tel Aviv and landed in Bangkok eight hours and two minutes later. However, some flight paths appeared to take the original longer route over the Arabian peninsula.
Several Israeli Airlines will follow in EL AL’s footsteps and start flying through Omani airspace, including Arkia and cargo airline Challenge Airlines.
Oman’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) tweeted…
“As part of the Sultanate of Oman’s continuous efforts to fulfil 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 overflying.”
Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen thanked Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said for the decision, which will shorten flight times to many Asian countries, not just Thailand.
“It’s a historic and significant decision for the Israeli economy and the Israeli traveller.”
The Times of Israel reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel could turn into “the central transfer point between Asia and Europe.”
The cost of plane tickets between Tel Aviv and Bangkok is expected to reduce, given that airlines will save on fuel costs.
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