Israel's El Al Airlines Temporarily Halts Flights Over Oman on Bangkok Route

Israel's El Al Airlines has announced a temporary halt to flights over Omani airspace on its route to Bangkok. This decision was made due to safety considerations.

A New Corridor Over Saudi Arabia and Oman

In February, El Al became the first Israeli national carrier to use a new corridor over Saudi Arabia and Oman. This was made possible after Muscat joined Riyadh in allowing Israeli civilian overflights. The new route significantly reduced the flight time between Tel Aviv and Bangkok from 11 hours to eight.


Reverting Back to the Old Route

Despite there being no specific threat to El Al aircraft, the airline has opted to revert back to a route over Saudi Arabia but not Oman. This change has increased the flight time between Tel Aviv and Bangkok back to 11 hours. El Al is currently seeking a new route over Oman and has asked Omani officials for approval.

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Increased Security Measures

Israel has stepped up security on all its transport networks following attacks by Hamas militants on Israel on October 7, and the ensuing war in Gaza. These attacks have led to increased security measures across all transport networks in Israel.

The Future of El Al's Routes

El Al flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates will continue to use Saudi airspace, without having to cross Oman. In July 2022, the Saudis permitted Israeli commercial aircraft to fly through their airspace to the UAE. This enabled a shorter route to East Asia by making a stop in the Gulf nation that normalized ties with Jerusalem in 2020.

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When Oman permitted Israeli airliners to use its airspace in February 2023, a shorter route opened up for direct flights from Israel. This route headed southeast across Saudi Arabia and then east across Oman, slicing around three hours off the flight time to Bangkok. The first commercial Israeli flight over Saudi Arabia and Oman to Thailand was in February 2023. As of now, it remains uncertain when El Al will resume its flights over Omani airspace.

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