Israel and Dubai have managed to reach a deal on airliner security arrangements after a public spat between the two sides led to the threat of flights from Tel Aviv to the popular emirate being suspended.
The Shin Bet security agency said on Friday that it had agreed on the necessary security protocols with their counterparts in Dubai after a falling out on the issue emerged last month.
Shin Bet had wanted to post its own plainclothes security officers at Dubai International Airport but the emiratis dismissed the plan outright saying such a move would undermine Dubai’s sovreignty.
Flights to and from Abu Dhabi were never in jeopardy because the neighbouring emirate had already allowed Shin Bet’s security officers to operate at its airport. Other countries where Israeli flag carrier El Al operate all allow special security agreements with Shin Bet.
If Shin Bet couldn’t agree on security protocols with Dubai then the agency planned to ban Israeli airlines from flying to Dubai. That would then lead to the Israelis barring flydubai and Emirates from flying to Tel Aviv because of the lack of competition.
Israeli airlines use their own security agents in foreign outposts to question and search passengers before they are allowed to board a flight to Tel Aviv. The security operation uses young Israeli security operatives who are stationed on secondment in international destinations.
A special security division of El Al manages the operation on behalf of all Israeli airlines at an annual cost of more than US $311.
In some destinations, Shin Bet demands the host country provide additional security over and above what any other airline would be afforded. This can range from bulletproof check-in counters to police escorts of Israeli planes from the gate to the runway.
The agency did not comment on the specifics of the deal with Dubai.
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.