FILE PHOTO: Israel Prime Minister Office Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Sultan Qaboos bin Said in this undated handout provided by the Israel Prime Minister Office, in Oman. Image Credit: Reuters

DUBAI: Oman’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Thursday said the Gulf Arab state’s airspace will be open for all civilian carriers, a move that would enable Israeli airlines to utilise a Saudi-Oman corridor to cut flight times to Asia.

Saudi Arabia, which like Oman does not have formal ties with Israel, last summer said it would open its airspace to all air carriers, but Israeli officials had said the corridor could not be implemented until Muscat consented.

“Enforcing international and local requirements against discrimination in dealing with civilian aircraft, the Civil Aviation Authority confirms that the sultanate’s airspace is open to all carriers that meet the requirements of overflying,” the CAA said in a statement posted on its Twitter account.

Israel thanks Oman

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Thursday thanked Oman’s ruler Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, describing the move as “an historic and significant decision for the Israeli economy and the Israeli traveller”.

Opening Saudi airspace to flights to and from Israel was one focus of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region last summer, as the United States and Israel sought to build on normalisation pacts between Israel and two Gulf Arab states.

Saudi Arabia, which gave tacit approval to the US-brokered pacts inked by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020, has allowed airlines, including Israeli carriers, to overfly its territory on flights to and from the two countries.

The Saudi-Omani corridor would expand such overflights to other destinations.

Israel’s foreign ministry said the corridor would shorten the flight route to Asia by more than two hours to some destinations.