Sudan is ready to allow flights to or from Israel to use its airspace, although El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) would be excluded, Sudanese military spokesman Amer Mohamed al-Hassan told Al Jazeera.

The decision follows a surprise meeting between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military head of Sudan's collective Sovereignty Council, and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, in Uganda this week.

Sudan does not recognise Israel, although the meeting was seen by some as a first step towards the normalisation of ties between the two states. Netanyahu said earlier that permitting overflights over Sudan would significantly reduce flying time to South America.

Most Arab states which do not recognise Israel not only ban direct flights to the country but also restrict overflights en route to or from Israel. Notable exceptions are Egypt, Jordan, and (since early 2019) Chad all of which recognise Israel and permit commercial flights to the Jewish state.

Currently, the only scheduled flights connecting Israel and South America are LATAM Airlines' 3x weekly, B787-8-operated service to Santiago de Chile Int'l via Sao Paulo Guarulhos. According to the ch-aviation schedules module, eastbound flying time is 15 hours 20 minutes as the aircraft has to circumvent the whole of North Africa/Sahel en route to/from Israel. If flown with the shortest route (i.e. over Egypt, Sudan, and Chad), flights could take as much as 1.5 hours less.

African services from Israel are less affected by the ban as flights to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo (operated by EL Al) and Kigali (RwandAir) require relatively small detours when flying over the Red Sea.

However, it is unclear if the declaration by Sudan's military will translate into actual policy. The decision to meet with Netanyahu was met by stark criticism from other Arab states and the civilian part of Sudan's transitional government. After the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir's dictatorship in 2019, the country has been governed by the eleven-member Sovereignty Council in which the military and the civilians are meant to share power.

In early 2018, Saudi Arabia - which also has no diplomatic relations with Israel - allowed Air India to use its airspace to operate flights from Delhi Int'l to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion.