Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said has given Israeli airliner El Al permission to fly over its airspace, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
It follows a surprise visit by Netanyahu to Oman in October, a country Israel has no formal diplomatic relations with.
"When I was in Oman, Sultan Qaboos [bin Said] confirmed to me right away that El Al can fly over Oman," the prime minister told Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem.
The comment, if true, would not serve practical purpose as El Al is not allowed to fly over neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Yemen or the UAE.
Saudi Arabia has granted permission to Air India to use its airspace for flights to Israel, but has not formally granted the same rights to El Al.
The state airline reportedly took the Israeli government to court due to the competitive advantage Air India has over El Al.
But the direct flights from Tel Aviv to New Delhi are a big boost for Israel's economy, with flights to the tech-hub of Mumbai - over Saudi Arabia - expected soon.
"Soon we will fly to Mumbai... Tel Aviv-Mumbai is a shorter flight than Tel Aviv-London," he said.
Israel has pushed for El Al to be allowed to fly over Arab countries, with permission also reportedly granted from Chad and Egypt governments to use its airspace.
Netanyahu said he expects Sudan to grant permission for the state airline to fly through its airspace, which would cut flight times to Brazil by two hours, a country that recently elected a pro-Israel, far-right president.
"This opens other markets. This is another quarter of a billion people," he said.
Gulf countries - including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE - have eased historic hostilities with Israel, seeking to build business ties with the country and find a common regional ally against Iran.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also used Israeli spyware to snoop on pro-democracy and human rights activists in the country.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright @ 2021 The New Arab.