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Israeli airline wants armed guards on its Oslo flights

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An Israeli airline that will operate charter flights between Oslo and Tel Aviv this summer has requested permission from Norwegian authorities to have armed guards on board. NRK reported on Monday that airline Arkia made the request as a protection measure against terror attacks. The Ministry of Transport confirmed it was considering the application.

Norwegian authorities have long resisted the presence of armed guards like the marshalls on board flights in the US. Otto Lagarhus, a former aviation director and SAS pilot and manager, claimed there are situations where armed personnel on flights are justified. “There is a lot of attention over Israel, but there are also other destinations where it is just as appropriate to use such guards,” he said. “If it’s a troubled corner of the world, if the country is exposed to terrorism or the security control in a country does not get six stars, then it can be appropriate to fly with your own guards.”

He said armed guards can be a deterrent, but it was critical they be specially trained for the circumstances. Guards must be able to use other security equipment before resorting to a gun, and must use ammunition that would not risk damaging the fuselage.

Lars Arne Vestfossen from the Norwegian Airline Pilots Association (Norsk Flygerforbund) said he would rather have no weapons at all on a plane, and claimed even elite guards can be overpowered. “If he has a weapon, people with evil intentions could get hold of it and it can be extremely dangerous,” he said.

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