'No chance we'll cancel flights'
There's one airline that won't cancel its flights to Israel. And they even serve cholent
on their Thursday night flights. Yes, it's El Al
Israeli airline El Al said it would not cancel any flights as air
travel to Israel from all American carriers and several European ones
came to a halt on Tuesday after the Federal Aviation Authority banned
US airlines from traveling to and from Ben Gurion Airport for 24 hours.
"There is no chance we will stop operations," an El Al spokesman told the Post.
In labor disputes with the government, El Al has argued that it is the
only airline the country can rely on to continue flying during tough
security times, and that Israel should foot more of the bill for its
security needs. During the 1991 Gulf war, every airline but El Al
suspended service to Israel.
Hamas has explicitly targeted the airport in hopes of stopping or
slowing air traffic. Earlier in the conflict, it lobbed a handful of
rockets in the direction of the airport, suspending traffic there for
"The armed wing of the Hamas movement has decided
to respond to the Israeli aggression, and we warn you against carrying
out flights to Ben-Gurion airport, which will be one of our targets
today because it also hosts a military air base," a statement by the
group said at the time.
In an interview with Channel 2, Katz
added that he believed the decision was an automatic reaction to the
rocket landing, and hoped to convince them to reinstate flights on
Maybe. This suspension could have really serious consequences, and some senior ministers in the government ought to get involved. I think it's a bit above Katz's grade level.
Yet the cancellation of flights, should it continue for a
significant period of time, could have a greater impact on the economy.
A May report by the Bank of Israel found that business travel to Israel
tends to be more resilient than leisure tourism in the face of
Without ways to get into the country, however,
business travelers, who have historically accounted for 12-20% of
travelers to Israel, will also be kept behind. Worse, the precedent of
flights canceled due to security may deter them from future business
On the other hand, the economic effects of a one-day
suspension would be negligible, according to Federation of Israeli
Chambers of Commerce Uriel Lynn.
"Is it affecting Israel's
business now? No. It's 24 hours. It's not a big deal. We have
telecommunications infrastructure that helps us get business done," Lynn
told the Post.
The chances of a longer suspension seemed
unlikely, he added, given Hamas’s inability to strike at the airport up
until now. America’s political stance on terrorism and alliance with
Israel, Lynn offered, would likely affect the FAA’s decision.
moment they forbid flights to Israel, they strengthen Hamas, who say,
‘Great, we're succeeding in isolating Israel, we're fulfilling our
goals.' I don't think the FAA want to do that," he said.
What could go wrong?
Labels: Ben Gurion Airport, El Al, Gaza, Hamas, Hamas rockets, Israeli economy, Operation Protective Edge