Sep 3, 2020 - World

Bahrain to allow flights between Israel and UAE to use its airspace

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/Getty Images

Bahrain announced Thursday that it had agreed to the United Arab Emirates' request that it allow flights between the UAE and Israel to pass through its airspace.

Why it matters: The move followed lobbying from the Trump administration, which is also in talks with the Bahrainis about possibly following the UAE into normalization with Israel.

What they're saying: Bahrain will allow flights coming to and departing from the UAE to cross its airspace, the Bahraini official news agency reported, quoting an official from the ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications.

  • Jared Kushner, U.S. envoys Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook, and White House official Adam Boehler raised this issue earlier this week in a meeting in Manama with the King and Crown Prince of Bahrain, a source familiar with the matter said.
  • The Bahrainis made the decision after they saw that Saudi Arabia had taken the same step Wednesday.

Worth noting: An unusual transit agreement dating to the 1970s gives Bahrain control over much of Qatar's airspace. So while the agreement is partially a goodwill gesture, it could cut flight times from Israel to the UAE by around 20 minutes.

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