Russia aviation crisis feared
Russia makes new demands, including ban on armed Israeli security guards at airports
Published: 06.18.10, 00:33 / Israel News
A new list of demands articulated by Russia is threatening to prompt an aviation crisis vis-à-vis Israel and threaten the upcoming tourist season.
The Foreign Ministry recently received new instructions from Moscow pertaining to security requirements in respect Israeli airline aircraft, Ynet learned. Among other things, Russia said it will not allow armed security guards to enter its airports.
The Foreign Ministry is examining the issue and issued the following statement: "We are working with all relevant authorities in order to settle the matter and hope a solution will be found."
Officials are uncertain whether the new development is related to the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla. Both the Foreign and Transportation ministries are making great efforts to avoid a crisis with Russia.
Last month, Russian authorities refused to allow an Arkia plane to depart from St. Petersburg to Moscow, claiming that crew members failed to obtain visas, despite the fact that a need for those had been abolished more than a year ago. It was therefore decided to ground a Russian passenger aircraft at Ben Gurion Airport until Moscow allowed the Israeli plane to take off.
Officials are primarily concerned with the possibility of flights being suspended, a move which would exact a heavy price, just as the Russian tourism season in Israel kicks off.