Hundreds of flights by the three Israeli airlines - El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL), Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., and Arkia Airlines Ltd. - planned for the 2018 summer season are liable to be canceled because of security procedures and the sanctions being conducted by employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the past six months, sources inform "Globes." Early this week, an agreement was signed with the Local Israel Employees (Ovdim Mekomi'im Israelim) Union workers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who are responsible for aviation security, among other things.
Sources inform "Globes" that the Israeli airlines have already received notices telling them to prepare accordingly, because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not be able to provide them with the required authorizations to conduct flights this summer.
"More than a thousand flights to various destinations are involved," a senior executive in one of the Israeli airlines told "Globes." "For us, we have already closed slots (takeoff and landing times, M.R.-C.) and the 2018 summer flight schedule, most of which cannot take place. This is an economic blow for us, and also for the passengers, who will be unable to benefit from competition. In most cases, security is able to deal with the flight schedules and approvals we get from the foreign airports. This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already notified us that they will not be able to handle it. Our hands are tied, because the security arrangements are not under our control."
"Globes": Are you still selling flights and packages to these destinations?
"For now, we are still selling, but there is no certainty that the flights will take place," the source said, portraying a situation he considers absurd. "The government is encouraging foreign airlines, while trampling Israeli airlines. The Ministry of Tourism is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to foreign airlines for flying to Israel, the Ministry of Transport is bolstering the activity of the foreign airlines and encouraging as many as possible of them to operate flights to Israel, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is upending the Israeli airlines, which are already facing stiff competition."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 23, 2018
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