A day after Arkia Airlines Ltd. CEO Nir Dagan sent a sharp letter to the Ministry of Finance, in which he accused El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) and its CEO of being responsible for the risk of flight cancelations, El Al CEO David Maimon today issued an urgent call to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council demanding the immediate hiring of security employees who had undergone training.
Maimon's letter states that in the current state of affairs, 1,000 flights will be unable to take off, including entire series of flights and destinations that will be unreachable.
The 2018 summer flight schedules of Arkia, Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., and El Al (including Sun d'Or are at stake. Some of the flights and vacation packages are already scheduled for the upcoming Passover vacation. The companies in the sector are marketing the packages and flights, but whether they will actually take place is questionable, so in addition to the airlines' great distress at growing competition against foreign airlines, the consumers are also liable to discover that the flights on which they have purchased tickets will not take off.
As described by Maimon in his letter, the problem is a shortage of 200 security personnel. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still insisting on limiting the number of its employees to 950, and wants to extend this to 2018.
Maimon claims that over 200 employees currently finishing their training are waiting to be hired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so that they can begin working in various destinations around the world. He is demanding immediate approval for this. "It is unacceptable for the commercial activity of the Israeli airlines to come to a halt because of various disputes in which they are not involved," he wrote.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response, "The National Security Councils is currently holding a series of meetings with various government ministries for the purpose of arranging the matter of aviation employees and their employment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a partner in the process in order to find a solution that will make it possible to deal with the problem."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 5, 2018
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