Israel has decided to extend a deadline that could have halted its airlines’ operations to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but has reportedly warned of a potential “regional, not just bilateral” crisis with UAE if the issue is not addressed.
The announcement was made by Israel’s Ministry of Transport on February 8, 2022. The deadline extension means that flights from Israel will still be permitted to Dubai International Airport (DXB) despite ongoing talks surrounding the security dispute. The initial arrangements between Israel and UAE involved three Israeli airlines, El Al, Israir, and Arkia, and expired on February 8, 2022.
Airlines could stop flying to DXB airport unless security concerns raised by Israel’s Shin Bet security service, which were not announced publicly, are resolved.
Following the latest Ministry of Transport update seen by Reuters, Israel has agreed to extend the deadline by a month so that talks can continue. However, if negotiations should fail, this will result in a reciprocal ban. This means that Israeli carriers will cease operations to Dubai and UAE airlines will lose the ability to fly to Israel.
“If El Al can’t fly to the Emirates, then Emirati companies can’t land here. […] The crisis could be regional, not just bilateral,” an Israeli official, who requested anonymity, told media.