Jordan Grants Israel Overflight Rights

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Another sign of warming relations in the Middle East, Israel, and Jordan have reached an agreement for mutual overflight rights. The neighboring countries sit in a key travel corridor that connects Europe and the countries of the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. This latest move will cut travel times for carriers from both countries.

El Al 767 in flight, Ben Gurion
Combined with Saudi overflight rights, the aircraft of Israeli airline El Al will no longer need to fly around Jordan to reach destinations in the South, East, and Southeast portions of Asia. Photo: Getty Images

A direct path for Israel to the UAE

This development is the latest in a series which have seen Middle Eastern nations establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

At the end of August, history was made as El Al completed Israel’s first flight to the United Arab Emirates. The flight came following a historic peace deal between the two nations that was announced roughly two weeks prior.

Arkia A321LR
It’s not just El Al that will benefit from this change. The new overflight rights will help Israeli carrier Arkia as well – particularly with its services to India. Photo: Airbus

Days later, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced that they would allow El Al aircraft flying to and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to enter their airspace.

Now that Jordan has joined this list of countries allowing overflight rights to Israeli carriers, aircraft can fly a direct path between the UAE and Israel, without having to skirt around certain countries for political reasons.

Middle East Mediterranean map
Israeli airlines can now operate service to Dubai with a direct path through Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Google Maps

Fuel savings and time savings

Not only is this an excellent development for Israeli carriers, but planes based in the UAE are also now able to fly across Israel and Jordan on their way to Europe. This will translate into time and fuel savings. For flag carrier Royal Jordanian, it means that its flights to Europe will no longer need to fly around Israel.

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As flights continue to resume post-global-health-crisis, the savings in fuel costs will certainly add up – not to mention the carbon emissions reductions that come with this new and efficient route.

Shortest-International-Routes
Royal Jordanian Airlines operates one of the world’s shortest international flights. Photo: Bjorn Strey via Wikimedia Commons.

“UAE and Bahrain airlines, as well as carriers from all over the world, will in the near future be able to begin flying over Israel to destinations in Europe and North America, and back,” -Israel transport ministry via Bloomberg

Subject to security approvals and restrictions

According to Bloomberg, who spoke to a transport ministry spokeswoman, routes are subject to security approvals, and companies from ‘enemy countries’ won’t receive access.

Ynet news website reports that under the agreement, overflights will be permitted on weeknights between 23:00 and 06:00. On weekends, the opening will extend to 12 hours, while on 12 specific holidays throughout the year, a 24-hour window will be available.

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What do you think of this changing geopolitical situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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