The IDF has instituted a policy prohibiting soldiers from flying over Saudi Arabia and Oman, a report by Israel Hayom's Shimon Yaish reported Tuesday.
The new policy constitutes a problem for any soldier who wishes to fly to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, or Thailand, since any flight from Israel in that direction will fly over the two Arab kingdoms, once Oman opens its airspace to them.
On Wednesday morning, Israel Hayom followed up, writing that in wake of Tuesday's report, the military has expedited its deliberations on the matter, and it would seem that it will change its policy shortly. It is still not clear what the changes will be or over which countries the soldiers will be permitted to fly, and an official decision has not yet been made.
Sources in the airline industry told Israel Hayom that there are soldiers who purchased tickets to south-eastern countries, and once Oman opens its airspace to Israeli flights, those soldiers won't be able to fly if the IDF doesn't change its policy. On Thursday, the CEO of ELAL told the newspaper that she predicts that Oman will open its airspace within the next few days, and once that happens all routes east will pass over Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The opening of Saudi and Omani airspace will considerably reduce both flight times and costs. At this point, there are already a few carriers that fly over Saudi Arabia, including Arkia and Air Seychelles, and Cathay Pacific and Air India have already received permission to fly over Oman too, and have begun taking that route. As of now, IDF soldiers are forbidden from taking those flights.