Bahrain will begin allowing all flights to and from the United Arab Emirates to cross its airspace, a source in the country’s Transportation Ministry announced on Thursday.
The source told the Bahrain News Agency that the Civil Aviation Affairs department of the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry had approved a request for permission to use its airspace from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.
Though the announcement did not specify Israel, it comes on the heels of a similar statement by Saudi Arabia last week, when a joint U.S.-Israeli delegation flew to the UAE from Tel Aviv on Aug. 31 and used Saudi airspace to do so. The flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi takes approximately three hours via Saudi airspace, but up to eight hours when using a roundabout route.
Earlier in August, Hebrew news outlets reported that Bahrain could become the second Gulf nation to establish formal relations with Israel in the aftermath of the U.S.-brokered treaty between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi that was announced on Aug. 13 by U.S. President Donald Trump.
According to Israel’s Channel 12 News, discussions held between Mossad director Yossi Cohen and Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on the weekend of Aug. 15 appear to be a sign that a deal is in the works.
The Bahrain News Agency reported on Aug. 16 that Al Khalifa had traveled abroad for a “private visit,” leading to speculation that the trip could be linked to relations with Israel.
Bahrain was one of the first nations to congratulate the UAE, with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa phoning Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to marvel at the agreement.