Transport authorities look to complete Israeli airline deal

Transport officials have confirmed that a subsidiary of Israel’s flagship airline El Al is in the process of starting services to the Maldives later this year, despite some fervent anti-Israel sentiment in the country and recent administrative difficulties between the flight operator and its parent company.

Transport Minister Adil Saleem told Minivan News that relevant authorities were currently processing a license for Sun d’Or International Airlines to begin operating to the Maldives after talks began last year. He claimed such a move would create opportunities for both Israeli tourists to visit the country as well as facilitate pilgrimages for Maldivians to mosques around Jerusalem and other parts of the country.

Sun D’Or International, which is wholly owned by Israeli transport group El Al, was reported to have ceased operations from April 1 this year after the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ruled that it relied on its parent company to administer and provide infrastructure to its operations – a situation it deemed “unsatisfactory”.

In a report for the Reuters news agency, despite reservations raised by the CAA on the manner the company was being run, the Israeli Transport Ministry claimed that the aircraft, maintained by El Al , were “completely safe” and any reservations about Sun D’Or International’s operations related solely to “administrative issues”. The report quoted ministry officials as saying that El Al could continue to use the Sun D’Or brand name commercially, but could not continue to operate the airline as an independent company.

A spokesperson for El Al was unavailable for comment when contacted by Minivan News at the time of press, but Adil Saleem claimed that to his knowledge, negotiations to begin services to the Maldives had not been affected so far by the Israeli CAA’s decision.

“I am not presently on top of the latest developments [with the company], but I believe we have almost completed the licence process for the services, which are expected to begin in October.

In recent months, the Maldives has seen a number of protests against Israel and its foreign policy along with claims by one former opposition party leader that the privatisation of Male’ International Airport would allow for Israeli bombers to go out of their way to refuel in the Maldives on their way to attack its neighbours in the Middle East. Saleem said he had taken such controversies on board.

“The [transport] department has gone through their procedures that it goes through with any airline planning to operate to the Maldives.  As Transport Minister I have looked at this like with any other airline,” he said. “Some Maldivians see Israel as controversial over the issue of Palestine. Yet Palestine accepts Israel as a state, benchmarking the point that I don’t see why we should not allow these flights.”

Saleem said that the Maldives already played host to a number of Israeli tourists at its resorts and that the airline would allow for a greater influx of guests to the country’s tourism industry.

The Transport Minister added that it had also become fashionable for some Muslims to travel to ancient mosques in Medina and Jerusalem, with the deal potentially allowing for local companies to provide pilgrimages to these sites.


23 thoughts on “Transport authorities look to complete Israeli airline deal”

  1. Any move government makes to influx hard currency should be welcomed by the money hungry MPS and the opposition if they don’t want further deteriorate Rufiyaa value

  2. “Some Maldivians see Israel as controversial over the issue of Palestine".

    That is an understatement surely? So do a great many people from other nations, including me!

  3. Palestinians accept israel? How?
    two questions...

    1) does Israel refer to a state or to a ppl?
    2) if it refers to a state, it surely will have borders. does anybody on earth (let alone the Palestinians) know yet the real borders of Israel?

  4. Don't welcome Jews and Zionists in Mass numbers to our country by introducing direct flights, it'll make it very easy for them to plan their "kill muslims" here.

  5. Heh, and the pawns of the slow-burn war keep yodeling about Israel. To them, men like Shamai Leibowitz and Yigal Bronner do not exist. In fact, all information about them is suppressed both by Israel and the so-called 'muslim media', to all...ow the continued cycle of violence and counter-violence to keep the oil traders at Aramco fat and the expense of both the Palestinian people and the Israeli people.

    Because they know that if a resolution to this horrible war is found, they can never again profit from large-scale oil sales. They know they can never fool some gullible muslims to kill others and themselves. A middle East without war is an anathema to them - this is they crush all efforts at peace.

    They murdered an Italian whose only crime was to speak out against the horror that the Palestinian people were suffering, in an effort to stop the war once and for all.

    Who are 'they'?. They are the extremist government leaders of both Israel and the Arab world.

  6. We welcome everyone here in the Maldives, regardless of their colour, creed, religion etc. Jews, blacks, Muslims, Chrisitians, Hindus, Budhists, Atheists, Shintos, whites, mixed races, gays, lesbians are all welcome here.

    Just come and enjoy what nature gave us. Every one was created equal and only the Creator has the power to judge, not us.

  7. Mr Transport Minister, you need to do your homework done and get your facts right in interviews like this. Palestine done not recognise Israel as a state and does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Palestine says that they believe that Israel has the right to exist and will create diplomatic relations with it according to the two state peace negotiations. Now it is upto Israel to go ahead with this peace process inorder to get them recognised by Palestinians and live in peace with them. But they don't seems to eb interested at all. They are strong and hence beleive in occupation of Palestinians and reoving them off from that land. This the reason why muslim states are not interested in creating relating relation with Israel. Now why is this so hard for you ignorant brain to absorb. And tell me any Maldivian or muslim who has a fashionable interest to visit mosques in Jerusalem? Even if he did want, he cant visit as Israel wouldn't allow his entry in to the holy land. Everything is under their occupation and control. If you want to start diplomatic relations with Israel, simply say so. IF you want to give Israeli airline to land Maldives, blatantly say so. Don't talk in merry go rounds and don't try to justifu this like a stupid idiot. The israeli flights will help your pocket, not the Maldivian public. Thats why you are doing this. And you know very well that Maldivians are not the people who would be using these flights, its the Israelis instead who would be flying in them. Maldivians generally do not travel beyong Colombo and Trivandrum.

  8. In March 2011, The Israel Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced the suspension of Sun D'Or's operating license effective April 1, 2011. The CAA based its decision citing non-compliance with Israeli and international airline management standards, mainly lack of self-owned planes and crew. big question as to how operation will go forward without AOC????

  9. “Some Maldivians see Israel as controversial over the issue of Palestine. Yet Palestine accepts Israel as a state, benchmarking the point that I don’t see why we should not allow these flights.”

    This is the most misleading quote I have yet to hear from a Maldivian politician. I am sure that there are plenty of money going in your pocket in order to give "false" and "misleading" statements to the public. Again are you one of those politicians that think Maldivians do not keep up to date about Israeli war crimes against Palestinians on a daily basis?

    I have the lowest respect for people who try to promote the state of Israel who even ex-US-President Jimmy Carter has compared to the apartheid regime of South Africa. So where did you get this logic of Israel being a civilized state? Are you sure you minister are an educated man? Or is the Jewish conservatives paying you too much to resist? Do you not care about the children who were and are still being killed by Israel?

    May God bring misfortune to the life of anyone who tries to make a profit with these zionist criminals. If you do not know what is the meaning of zionism, please google it. Your families should be ashamed of you! for God will punish who ever associates and helps his enemies. So it is better for them to distance from you.

    I would cut relations with any family member of mine who associates themselves directly in supporting the state of Israel. So your families should do the same to you! I have no problem with Jews as a whole, but the state of Israel has driven out 10 times more people compared to the whole of Maldivian population. So anyone from the state of Israel whould be arrested and given to rot in Maldivian prison.

    Also did you minister forget to state to the public that this faction (Fatah) of Palestine which recognizes Israel as a state was voted out of pwer during a popular election in Gaza. Even than, instead of accepting defeat, Fatah tried tried to use force to keep control of Gaza, giving the Hamas party no choice but to use force back. Ofcourse thanks to God, Hamas was successful. Since than number of leaks from Wikileaks and the Aljazeera palestine paper leaks have showed US and Israeli support and funding to Fatah in return gives away the rights of over a million Palestinian's right of return to Palestine under the UN Mandate. All this would not have been known if it was not for the leaks. Also the election where Hamas won in Gaza was monitored and declared as one of the most transparent elections by the Jimmy Carter foundation which overseas elections in various war torn regions.

    Again, where did you mr.minister get your education on this issue? You did not by chance ask an Israeli official?

    You know, just to be polite on this delicate issue. Why not you ask the head of the Israeli airlines to come out in public and say the words "We recognize the independent state of Palestine which exists today, right at this moment".

    I can guarantee you that he or she would not dare to do this because his/her job and career would be at risk. They, just like some Maldivian politicians.. are very tricky in their speeches. They can say we believe in an independent state of Palestine at one point or another in the future, but would never ever claim that it exists simply because it does not. There is Gaza and than there is West Bank. There is no state of Palestine. Pls do your research in a where information if available at our fingertips.

    Please also go and take out a world map and see if you can find the state of Palestine next to Israel. Do you see a state of Palestine? You will see Gaza and West Bank.. and Israel and all the illegally occupied areas. Again this occupation is illegal even under the UN, but because United States has been vetoing every resolution against Israel.. the United Nations is ineffective to bring justice for Palestinians. US claims that UN cannot create an independent state of Palestine, but it sure did create the independent state of Israel. The hypocrisy of these western politicians.

    Remember you are just another human being that will die and be punished in the grave and hereafter for your association with cold blooded killers. Only greed can explain your state of mind.

  10. if you can get cash will you invite trouble or wanting to challenge the mojority of your public. We know 30% Maldivians are under drugs but still 60% arnt so must repect majority. You can sell your country and the majority for minority gains. do you know how hard it was for former president Mr. Nasir to overcome the voaraa viyafaariverin from India. Now we are sold to India. now inviting Isreal may be dangerous. why not ask the openion of the majority and this kind of Issue. I hope ane pray Maldives will be always safe.

  11. This is surely a controversial issue for Maldives. There is a difference between letting Israeli tourists into Maldives, from establishing economic ties with a state which today is criticised as a state practicing apartheid against the Palestinians. The whole of the world including the western nations are participating in a campaign to boycott Israeli products and services just like the world finally stood up against apartheid South Africa. We cannot stop or ban Israeli tourists from entering Maldives as it would mean singling out individuals for discrimination based on nationality; which goes against the values of democracy. But we can boycott Israeli products and services in solidarity with the Palestinians in their fight for freedom from Israeli occupation. As a person who has participated in a boycott campaign against Israel in a foreign non-Muslim land, it shames me to see that my own country of 100% Muslims have sold out their brothers and sisters in Palestine for economic gains! Shameful!

  12. Hypocrites. If Maldives can't have a relationship with Israel thts what i would say. There is no other country in the world that has killed as many muslims as the Americans, they have taken over Iraq, Afghanistan and now even Libya. They have exported more than $100 Billion worth of firearms to the middle-east only in 2010 to create civil wars with in the countries, and yet you Maldivian people never say a word at the Americans & The Great Britain i wonder why?
    It haven't been long since the French and the British tested out their near Air weapons on Libya by saying just for the purpose of saving the rebels.
    But Maldivians and the Al-Salaf nor does the opposition parties stands up for these things.
    When you say its shameful that we are selling off our brothers of Palestine aren't you all selling off all the middle eastern Muslim brothers when you are connected to the US, UK and the European Union.

    All you people are Hypocrites.

  13. We all should realize that the Maldives threat level will rise tremendously if this airline operates to Male. There are so many Mullas wanting to do Jihad in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and now this will give them the perfect opportunity. Mind you we have many Mullas working at Male Airport and they are just one extreme CD away to turn into another Bin Ladin.
    Not only that, tourists would think twice coming into Maldives as it is commonly known as a fact that where there in Israelis there is trouble from them and others.
    This could become a big blow to our tourism.

  14. Umar naseer is a retard!
    I personally know a lot of jewish people, and some even from israel! they are normal just like you or me, perosnally id rather be friends with them than the majority of idiotic hypocritical maldivians!

  15. I am frightened and amused at the same time to think that the very people who are suddenly worried about the 'security implications' are the same people who would want to harm the visiting tourists.

    It would be a terrible national embarrassment if the Salaf/Adhaalath bigots go around on their megaphone and motorcade routine again.

    Any decent person would agree that the only way to mend relations is to have people to people interactions.

    The more Dhivehin and Israeli people come into contact and form friendly relations, the less room there'll be for hate and war mongers like the Salafis in our country.

    I sometimes wonder if that is not, indeed, the very reason why they're so upset at the thought of friendship.

  16. Ah the typical Maldivian fools. Little do they realized that the good old "muslim" countries in the Middle East too have good relations with Israel. Also, a lot of middle eastern and american businessmen/crime lords benefit a lot from these wars....which could explain why they never stop.

  17. We reap what we sow, our actions do not match our words.

    Israel, even with all its injustices to the Arab minority and the Palestinians in the occupied territories is much more tolerant than Maldives or much of the Muslim world and this is a fact.

    Whether we can accept this fact is another matter.

  18. Facilitating the ways for the Zionist and Jews to succeed their agenda, the new world order and one world government.

    Anni would be happy to have bunch of Dollars flying in with the deal!

  19. I applaud the government for taking up the right step. We should not judge anyone based on their religion. I beleive we need to rally against those stupid extremists who will probably protest against about this. I am tired of these fanatics!

  20. @peasant
    "Israel, even with all its injustices to the Arab minority and the Palestinians in the occupied territories is much more tolerant than Maldives or much of the Muslim world and this is a fact.
    Whether we can accept this fact is another matter."

    How tolerant they could be when you referred them as an occupying force.

    Google the word "Sabra Shatila" you will know how tolerant they are.

  21. Mr president pls why don't u do bussnes with Russian airlines then israil much better I think n pple also will not have any problem pls think about this if u have time 🙂

  22. All I am saying is, the transport ministry follows procedures and norms within the law. The many sentiments expressed for/against this action I believe should be addressed in the laws of the country through the parliament. We ministers work within the law and unbiased to anyone, let alone a country. If you want to change the laws to reflect your sentiments, COUNTRYMEN, next time around go and VOTE.


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