Foreign Ministry blames El Al for security workers shortfall

El Al CEO Photo: David Maimon

With 1,000 flights by Israeli carriers in danger of being canceled this summer, El Al and the Foreign Ministry are blaming each other.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a harsh letter to El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) CEO David Maimon insisting that 200 jobs will not be created for security personnel to handle Arkia Airlines Ltd., Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. and El Al flights (including Sun D'Or). Moreover, the letter blames El Al for not preparing properly for the rise in the number of new routes and destinations introduced by each of the Israeli carriers from this summer.

"Globes" was the first to report that the Israeli airlines have been saying that 1,000 flights will have to be canceled this summer because of the security personnel shortfall. El Al's security department is responsible for security of the overseas flights of all Israeli airlines flying from abroad.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general Yuval Rotem claims that Maimon has known about this situation for years. The letter claims that a decision had been taken in the wake of the Open Skies policy in coordination with El Al's security department for the Israeli carrier to find alternative sources of employment than through Israeli locally based employees abroad, who have become increasingly diplomatically and legally exposed.

Rotem claims that El Al announced at the end of 2017 that it planned doubling the number of security staff that it employs "to our amazement." Rotem points out that there is the alternative of outsourcing, some of which is already being implemented already.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that it will not increase the number of security personnel by 200 above the current level of 950.

While it remains unclear whether hundreds of flights by Israeli carriers will be canceled in the summer, many Israeli travel agents say they are taking no chances and switching bookings to foreign airlines.

El Al said in response, "At discussions in June 2017 with the deputy head of the National Security Council, the company was asked to present a plan for reducing the number of Israeli local workers abroad in the coming years. Immediately after the schedules for the airline companies was received in July 2017, which included a massive increase in the number of flights and destinations, El Al announced not only that it was unrealistic to reduce the number of employees but that an increase of hundreds was required in the coming years."

"As El Al declared, the solution to the situation would be realized with these 200 employees, some of whom have completed the training process and are waiting in Israel to be sent abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs letter ignores, to our regret, both the security and regulatory instructions regarding the composition of the type of workers employed for whom El Al awaits if employment of the 200 workers is improved."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 7, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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El Al CEO Photo: David Maimon
El Al CEO Photo: David Maimon
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