Aviation security in Middle East

FCO 8/2861 1977 Jan 01 - 1977 Dec 31

This file concerns the development of a policy for dealing with hijackings and increased security measures in the Gulf and elsewhere following a spate of attacks on aircraft, including the hijacking of a Japan Airlines (JAL) flight by the Japanese Red Army and a Lufthansa flight by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which culminated in military action by West German Special Forces in Mogadishu, Somalia. It contains correspondence relating to:

  • Debates around the action that needs to be taken by HMG in the event of a hijacking, including diplomatic and special forces action, finding a base of operations, organisational command and legal aspects
  • Reports from Middle East diplomatic posts on which governments would be most likely to oppose British military intervention against hijackers on their soil
  • HMG’s policy if asked by foreign governments for assistance in dealing with hijackings
  • Additional security measures put in place to counter hijacking, including at Dubai and Doha airports; with a plan of movement areas at Doha International Airport
  • Attempts to persuade governments which had not previously done so, including the UAE and Qatar, to accede to international conventions on aviation security
  • Discussions with the UAE Defence Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum concerning the terror threat to civil aviation at Dubai airport
  • Requests to HMG from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait and Iran for assistance in developing counter-hijacking capabilities by providing arms and specialist training from the SAS
  • Brigadier Ian Henderson’s development of a counter-hijacking squad of the Bahrain Special Branch
  • Parliamentary questions on HMG’s policy on dealing with hijackings and the activities of terrorist groups
  • Oman’s policy for dealing with hijacked aircraft