lufthansa 248 88 .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Lufthansa is stepping up pressure on Bavarian authorities to stop forcing passengers on Israeli-bound flights to undergo security checks at a separate terminal at Munich airport.
Following two-and-a-half years of negotiations between Israeli and German authorities, Lufthansa, Europe's second-largest airline, resumed Tel Aviv-Munich flights on Sunday after a six-year break. There will be four weekly flights between the two cities.
After the Munich Olympic Games in 1972, at which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered, Munich set up a special, separate terminal to handle Israeli-bound flights.
Hall F in Terminal 1 is a high-security terminal which must be used by all airlines flying to Israel, including El Al, Arkia, Israir, Sun D'Or and TUIfly. It is in the older part of the airport, has only a tiny duty-free shop and lacks any other services of a modern terminal.
"Lufthansa and the Munich Airport are working on this issue to bring this situation to an end," said Joachim Steinbach, Lufthansa VP Sales and Services for Middle East and Africa, at the press launch in Tel Aviv on Sunday. "We believe other airlines are also interested to bring this to an end."
Following security checks, most Israel-bound passengers are bused out to secure remote gates under the guard of the German federal police.
But passengers on the Lufthansa flights, though they will have to undergo security checks at Hall F, will then be transferred via a two-minute bus shuttle ride to Terminal 2.
"In comparison to other airlines flying on the Munich-Tel Aviv route, the transit and arrival on Lufthansa flights will still be from Terminal 2 at Munich Airport," said Steinbach.
Lufthansa believes that the authorities' security concerns are outdated since security procedures at Terminal 2 are of the highest standards, and that there is no reason why Lufthansa flights to Israel cannot be operated entirely from the newly built terminal.