search

Shin Bet says flights to Dubai to continue after security concerns with UAE resolved

Security agency chief meets Emirati counterpart to solve dispute relating to security ‘standards used at the airport’; Israeli airlines had warned flights could be halted

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: An Emirates jetliner comes in for landing at the Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on December 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)
Illustrative: An Emirates jetliner comes in for landing at the Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on December 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)

The Shin Bet security agency said Friday it had reached an agreement with authorities in the United Arab Emirates over security arrangements at Dubai airport that had threatened to halt Israeli flights to the region.

Last month, the Shin Bet said that “security disputes have emerged 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.”

Officials at the security agency met with their counterparts in the UAE on Thursday to solve the disagreements, the Shin Bet said. It comes after a separate meeting between Shin Bet head Ronen Bar and his UAE counterpart last week.

“Understandings were reached, common working principles and security arrangements were agreed upon, which will allow Israeli airlines to return to fly to Dubai on a regular and continuous basis,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

Israeli airlines had warned they would have to reduce the number of flights to Dubai, or even halt them entirely following the dispute.

This would also have likely seen Israel halt flights from Dubai to Ben Gurion Airport by FlyDubai and Emirates, in order to not give those companies an advantage over the Israeli airlines.

Flights to the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi were unaffected, but the city is a far less popular destination than Dubai.

Ronen Bar, the new head of the Shin Bet, leaves his home in Rishpon on October 11, 2021. (Flash90)

The Shin Bet denied the dispute was related to “regional diplomatic relations” but solely “relating to the standards used at the airport in Dubai.”

Dubai authorities have so far not commented on the dispute.

Shin Bet agents, usually in plainclothes, are used as an extra layer of security for flights to and from Israel, and are posted at airports around the world.

Regular flights between Israel and the UAE started last year, the latest sign of deepening relations since the United Arab Emirates and Israel normalized ties in September 2020.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed