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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Israel's airlines on strike

As expected, Israel's local airlines are on strike on Sunday morning against the prospect of the government's approval of an open skies agreement with the European Union, which is expected to happen at Sunday's cabinet meeting.
If passed, the agreement would introduce greater competition, which could theoretically bring down prices and force airlines to make difficult business decisions.
El Al announced Saturday evening that cancellations and changes would apply to flights departing from 5 a.m. on Sunday.
The airline advised passengers to turn to the El Al website for updated information about their specific flight.
For many of the flights, including one that had been scheduled to take off for New York at 10:40 a.m., the airline pushed ahead departure times to significantly earlier hours.
For example, the 10:40 a.m. flight was moved to 1:10 a.m., while all others scheduled for between 6 and 9 a.m. were changed to between 4:10 and 4:40 a.m., according to the El Al website.
Israir also warned customers that due to the strike, most flights after 5 a.m. on Sunday would be either canceled or changed. Two Israir flights to Europe were moved to earlier departure times, while two Israir charter flights were still scheduled to take off as scheduled.
As for flights to and from Eilat, Israir said customers would be eligible for refunds and could buy tickets for buses departing from the Sde Dov, Ben-Gurion, Haifa and Eilat airports.
Arkia meanwhile asked passengers to remain updated about their flights by checking online statuses, and ensured that the airline would do all in its power to allow for smooth travel.


The Histadrut labor federation announced the strike on Thursday afternoon, calling it “an existential strike for the future of Israeli airlines.”
“The meaning of the agreement in its current form is the elimination of Israeli airlines and the direct and indirect firing of tens of thousands of workers,” it said, arguing that the government should take full responsibility for airline security in order to remove the onerous burden on Israeli airlines and level the playing field.
“We are not against competition, but we are in favor of equal and fair competition,” said Avi Edry, head of the El Al workers union. “Israeli airlines, and most of all El Al, are the only companies that fly in times of crisis and provide the first response to the State of Israel.” 
My guess is that the government will end up eating the security costs and passing them back to consumers in the form of a ticket surcharge that will mean that we save little or nothing on airfares, and that the expected influx of tourism that would benefit everyone else in the country won't happen.

But that's par for the course in this country....

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At 10:21 AM, Blogger InMemoryOf Yossi said...

Bad timing for us. My son's vort was tonight. He was supposed to return to Israel tomorrow. Now he isn't sure when he will fly.
The kallah is very happy at this unexpected extended visit!


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