It’s a familiar idea, but it’s true. In a crisis, some individuals will do nothing while others will step up and take action. On a grand scale, this applies to how COVID-19 has impacted the world.

As well-deserved praise is heaped upon those individuals working in hospitals, the crisis has also made some long-term foes reassess their ingrained distrust of their neighbours and the pandemic has, in some ways, brought us closer together.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the Middle East with the announcement that Bahrain’s Gulf Air has become the latest airline to signal an intention to forge ties with Israel’s El Al.

The signing of another memorandum of understanding in the region between airline operators during an official visit by Bahraini representatives to Israel will allow discussion to begin on codeshare and other co-operation possibilities. Although starting small with the launch of twice-weekly Gulf Air flights to Tel Aviv beginning on 7 January, the potential to expand regional routes between the two countries and neighbouring nations is now a real possibility.

It’s been a long hard road in the Middle East after decades of hatred and war but as situations between countries normalise and political, commercial and civil aviation agreements are reached between Bahrain and Israel then there’s potential that others will see the opportunities and benefits that come with improving regional commercial travel in the Middle East.

As 2020 draws to a close and 2021 hopefully puts one of the world’s worst pandemics behind us, it might also give nations time to reflect and perhaps adopt a more positive attitude towards their neighbours. If or when this does occur, air travel will take the first tentative flights to destinations that would have seemed unthinkable a few years ago.

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