From Oct 9, 2020, traffic will be allowed to overfly Israel and Jordan for the first time. This new agreement will significantly shorten the flight time for Israeli flights bound for the Far East as they can now go direct via Jordan/Saudi, rather than having to route up through Turkey and then across Iran.
It will also shorten the flight times for aircraft routing between the Middle East and Europe. On average, they reckon the new routes will save around 70-100nm and they forecast up to 200 flights a day to benefit from the new routing.
How to overfly Israel
As per the current plan, overflights will only be allowed at night on weekdays, and then all weekend from Thursday nights through to Sunday mornings. But who knows, if all goes well and there are no issues, this could get extended at some point in the future.
Eurocontrol have published this doc which basically tells you everything you need to know about the new policy. The full details are found in the link, but remember point RALNA (3155557N 0353233E) because this is the new point published in Israel airspace that flights will now route via.
Here are the incredibly useful little maps that Eurocontrol have created, to make all this easier to understand:
Israel’s LLLL/Tel Aviv FIR and Jordan’s OJAC/Amman FIR will be available for overflights and flights between the two countries on the following days/times:
SUN 21:00 – MON 04:00
MON 21:00 – TUE 04:00
TUE 21:00 – WED 04:00
WED 21:00 – THU 04:00
THU 21:00 – SUN 04:00
On 19 Nov 2020, Israel published AIC 7/20 listing the airports they will allow you to depart from if you want to fly to Israel, or overfly Israeli airspace. The important change from the previous version of this list is that it now includes OMDB/Dubai and OMAA/Abu Dhabi. If you want to operate anywhere else, you can request overflight permits 30 days in advance (if a commercial flight) or 10 days in advance if non-commercial. Jordan also requires overflight permits, which should be requested via an agent.
Important to note: the airspace agreement signed by Jordan and Israel permits both countries overflight rights in the airspace of the other, and extends that right to operators of third party nations in transit to other countries.
Saudi Arabia – the last piece of the puzzle
Israel overflights only really work if the next country you hit lets you overfly its airspace too. In this case, that country is Saudi Arabia, and they (along with Bahrain) have now said that flights can overfly their territory whatever their origin or destination.
Give it to me in a sentence
As long as you’re departing from one of the airports on Israel’s approved list, you can overfly Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia no matter your destination airport.
How to get an Israel landing or overflight permit
We checked with ASOC (the Israeli authority which manages overflight and landing permits) and they confirmed that the process is essentially the same for both overflight and landing permits – the two main elements being:
- You must be departing from one of the approved airports in AIC 5/20, and
- You need a ‘local sponsor’ (i.e. contact person) who can vouch for you. They must be Israeli, and personally acquainted with all passengers (not just a travel agent or hotel representative). They will be contacted by the security services before any approval is given. Fill in the permit application form, and send it back to ASOC at email@example.com.
The next step is where it can get a bit confusing. Get ready for some jargon. Check out the full guidance on ASOC’s website, but here’s the lowdown on how it works and what to do:
1. ASOC will check your permit request, and if approved, will reply to you with a Pending Permission Notification.
2. The Captain must then call or log in to the ASOC website to submit an Entry Code. The Pending Permission Notification then becomes a Final Security Arrival Permit.
3. You’re good to go! On entering Israeli airspace, you’ve then got to follow the Arrival Identification Procedure. This bit is easier than it sounds – ATC will basically just ask for your Entry Code to approve you for entry. ASOC have published an example of how you can expect that conversation to go, plus what happens if they can’t hear you, or if your deets don’t match up to what they’ve got on file – in which case, expect to have to tell them your favorite color and your pet’s name (seriously).
More on the topic:
- More: Saudi-Yemen Airspace Update
- More: Africa: Hajj 2019 routes in operation
- More: Dubai to London – which way is best?
- More: Qatar airspace update – military jets intercepting civil flights
- More: Countries with bans on flights to Israel