Israel’s internal Shin Bet security service is reportedly planning to ban Israeli airlines from flying to Dubai amidst a disagreement with local officials over security arrangements at Dubai International Airport (DXB).
Axios Middle East Correspondent Barak Ravid quoted a source within Shin Bet who said the agency was concerned it could not guarantee proper security for Israeli airlines flying into and out of Dubai.
“The disagreement is technical and not political,” the source was quoted as saying. “We are considering moving the Israeli airline’s flights from Dubai to Abu-Dhabi.”
Low-cost airline Israir became the first ever Israeli airline to operate a commercial flight to Dubai on December 1, 2020. The flight followed the historic and unexpected normalisation of political relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier in 2020.
Along with Israir, the national flag carrier El Al and Arkia also fly regularly scheduled passenger flights to Dubai.
Israel and the UAE formalised relations after the signing of the Abraham Accords at a ceremony at the White House in Washington DC in September 2020. Several weeks later, an air services agreement had been thrashed out, but security arrangements at DXB have never been agreed.
Israeli airlines are known for stationing their own security officers at international airports, where they carry out their own questioning and security searches of passengers.
El Al’s internal security department provides airport security for all three Israeli airlines at an annual cost of more than US$311 million according to Globes.
Shin Bet confirmed on Saturday that it could bar Israeli airlines from flying to Dubai, saying in a statement: “over the past few months, security disputes have been revealed between the competent bodies in Dubai and the Israeli aviation security system, in a way that does not allow for the responsible enactment of security for Israeli aviation.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.