New Bahrain policy to allow flights between Israel and UAE to cross its airspace

CAIRO (Reuters) - Flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will be able to fly over Bahrain after the kingdom on Thursday said all services to and from the UAE can cross its airspace.

The decision, which the kingdom’s aviation authority said came at the request of the UAE, follows a historic agreement last month between Abu Dhabi and Israel to normalize ties.

In August, Israel’s intelligence minister said Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow the United Arab Emirates in formalising ties with Israel.

“All flights to and from the UAE can use Bahrain airspace”, state news agency reported on Thursday, citing the aviation authority, without mentioning Israel.

The decision cuts flying time between the Middle East states by several hours.

Israel’s El Al this week flew through Saudi airspace carrying U.S. and Israeli delegations from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi, the first official flight by an Israeli carrier over the kingdom. The return flight also used Saudi airspace.

Reporting by Hesham Abdul Khalek and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool