While I was actively traveling to Zürich (for three years before Covid pandemic), I noticed that the Israeli airplane is always being followed by an armored police car with a machine gun turret on top. The car moves parallel with the plane all the way during taxiing.

As far as I could notice, no other planes/companies had this security measurement. Does anyone know why is this happening? Are there some increased security risks connected to the planes/passengers coming to/from Israel?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: Why don't El Al 747's stay at the gates at JFK? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ El Al has additional security at EVERY airport they fly to. The level of security varies, but it is always present. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ During the latter half of the 1990s, Tower Air's 747s had the same security precautions at Amersterdam as El Al. Tower was carrying generally as many pax in/out of Tel Aviv as El Al, and being Jewish owned, was considered to be at the same level of risk. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 1:33
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    $\begingroup$ When we were living in Hassia, somewhat near Frankfurt, we would sometimes take a day trip to FRA on a weekend and go to the visitor's platforms and watch the planes. We moved away in 1991, so this must have been 30 years ago or more, and I very clearly remember seeing this even back then, and my parents explaining to me what it was all about (not easy for a 8-10 year old!) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 8:17
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    $\begingroup$ I have witnessed this in many airports over the years, usually this goes hand in hand with planes to Israel been boarded in remote parts of the terminal. Without going into politics Israel is in a long conflict with the Palestinians which is in the heart of many terrorist organizations ideologies. $\endgroup$
    – Rsf
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


It is happening as an extra security measure, probably attempting to mitigate the risk of an explosive-laden person or car breaching the perimeter fence - like many city airports ZRH has a multitude of roads running around the perimeter fence which cannot all be manned 24/7. Is it mostly for show? Who knows!

There has always been more risk associated with flying to Israel - anyone who flew there pre-9/11 was not surprised by the extra security measures added to all flights post-9/11 as they had been dealing with them since forever.

It seems that American might also get the same treatment at Zurich based on a photo here: https://www.airliners.net/photo/American-Airlines/Boeing-767-323-ER/531127/L

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    $\begingroup$ Funnily enough, the single comment on that linked photo is asking why El Al and American Airlines have that APC driving with them. $\endgroup$
    – zymhan
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 19:26

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