- Bahrain, like Saudi Arabia, has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.
- Saudi Arabia has authorized the use of its airspace for "all flights" to and from the UAE.
- Using Saudi airspace is the shortest and most cost-effective route between Israel and the UAE.
Bahrain has opened its airspace for direct flights between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the official state news agency, BNA, reported on Thursday. Saudi Arabia did so earlier this week. The UAE had asked Bahrain to open its airspace to Israeli planes bound for the Emirates.
The story was reported by AFP, citing a statement by an employee of the Ministry of Transport. The day before, on Wednesday, Bahrain, an ally of Saudi Arabia, announced the opening of its airspace to all UAE flights. They did not mention Israel.
Bahrain, like Saudi Arabia, has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel. However, the current decision of the country to allow direct flights between the UAE and Israel can be considered as a declaration of readiness to cooperate with this country. The first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi took place earlier this week.
Earlier in August, it was announced that Israel and the UAE would establish diplomatic relations under an agreement mediated by US President Donald Trump. The first direct flight between the two countries carried an Israeli delegation and an American delegation.
The UAE is the third Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel after Egypt and Jordan. Saudi Arabia announced this week that it would not establish diplomatic relations with Israel until it signed a recognized peace treaty with the Palestinians.
Issuance of Permission to Cross Saudi Arabia for Israeli Flights to the UAE
Saudi Arabia has authorized the use of its airspace for “all flights” to and from the UAE. The permit was issued two days after the first Israeli passenger plane landed at Abu Dhabi Airport. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, without naming Israel, issued a permit for its passenger planes to use its airspace.
The permit was issued in response to an official request from the UAE, two days after the first Israeli passenger plane landed on a direct flight from Tel Aviv at Abu Dhabi International Airport, according to the news sources. Riyadh’s statement stressed that “all countries” passenger planes are allowed to pass through Saudi airspace on their way back and forth to the UAE without any restrictions.
About two weeks after the unexpected announcement of an agreement between Israel and the UAE to normalize relations, an El Al plane arrived in Abu Dhabi after passing through Saudi Arabia.
Peace” Flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, and Meir bin Shabbat, Israel’s national security adviser, were among the passengers on board. Using Saudi airspace is the shortest and most cost-effective route between Israel and the UAE. According to the news sources, the direct flight between the two countries takes about three hours, and the indirect flight doubles this time.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called Saudi Arabia’s move “another great success,” and said that with the Riyadh permit, the cost of Israeli flights to Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports and vice versa would be greatly reduced, which could help boost tourism.