The Kingdom of Bahrain will join the United Arab Emirates in normalizing relations with Israel. Will we soon see Gulf Air service to Tel Aviv and EL AL service to Manama? Is Oman Air next?
Israel – Bahrain Plan To Normalize Relations
As tensions between Israel and Arab states continue to thaw over mutual concern over Iran and a realization that the status quo has not resulted in progress for an independent Palestine, Israel and Bahrain will normalize relations.
Bahrain was widely expected to be the next Gulf nation to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel. The United States uses Bahrain as regional headquarters for the US Navy and Bahrain and Israel have been communicating for years, including a joint White House meeting in 2017.
The move, however, is still consequential considering it is highly unlikely Bahrain would have made the move without the support of Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia has not extended diplomatic recognition itself, it recently announced intentions to allow Israeli flag carrier EL AL to use its airspace.
> Read More: A Historic Day For EL AL, Israel, UAE, And Saudi Arabia
New Opportunity For Gulf Air in Israel (And EL AL)
Might we soon Gulf Air service to Tel Aviv and EL AL service to Manama? I absolutely expect we will see this at some point. However, with Israel implementing a second nationwide shutdown only yesterday, the return to leisure and business travel between neighbors is unlikely to occur anytime soon.
Both carriers have not commented on the new peace deal.
Is Oman Next?
Although Oman has not extended diplomatic recognition itself, it has applauded the recent move by Bahrain. While it couches such support in language supporting Palestinian statehood, word on the street is that Oman is next. At the very least, Oman plans to open its airspace to EL AL on UAE flights, just as Saudi Arabia did. We might soon see Oman Air flights to Tel Aviv as well.
The introduction of Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Gulf Air, and Oman Air would mark a huge change to the landscape of Tel Aviv airport. As the dominoes begin to fall, expect that the gold livery of Gulf Air may soon be present at TLV.
Would you fly Gulf Air to Israel?
Imagine 4 years ago you’d have told people a significant portion of ME would be normalizing relations with Israel, but many of the same would have Qatar would blockaded for years.
Seriously, that is the ultimate irony!
Well El Al’s UAE flights may not exactly use Omani airspace, but if Saudi Arabia is opening its airspace to ANY El Al flights (i.e. to India and points further east in Asia), then Oman’s permission is critical. Without Iran, Oman, and Yemen, it’s really back to the old routes.
This is a great move by our government (Kingdom of Bahrain) cant wait to fly to TLV..
I would like to promote my country Bahrain to our friends in Israel. We welcome you to our beautiful and friendly Island.
I mean, it’s fun to speculate but nobody on here will know. As they say in the airline industry about these types of posts (and I’ve worked in network planning at airlines both domestically and internationally), those who know can’t say, and those who say don’t know…
How about saudi arabia..untel now ill waiting flight of gulf air airlines..from sudi to philippines