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Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday Photo: Moti Kimhi
Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday Photo: Moti Kimhi
 
 

Ben Gurion to shut down Tuesday

Airport Authority joins airlines strike; El Al cancels scheduled flights until further notice; union chiefs voice language of struggle as government approves 'open skies' deal

Billie Frenkel
Published: 04.21.13, 19:57 / Israel News

Histadrut Labor Federation has announced Sunday the Airport Authority will launch a strike action on Tuesday to demonstrate solidarity with airline workers who are protesting the government's decision to approve the "open skies" agreement. During the strike, the Ben Gurion Airport will be entirely shut down for a number of hours, starting 5 am.

 

According to the announcement, no services will be provided to foreign airlines during the strike. Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer Eini urged Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to enter negotiations immediately.

 

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Eini told Ynet that negotiations must begin to resolve the crisis currently plaguing Israeli aviation. "The finance and transportation ministers should immediately start negotiations to find a solution for fair competition for Israeli airlines," he said.

 

The Histadrut chairman added that the strike will end if a solution is reached. "If they announce they are negotiating and a solution will be found, we will end the strike," he promised.

 

Additionally, in the wake of the strike called by the Histadrut Labor Federation, both El Al and Arkia have canceled their scheduled flights – El Al until further notice and Arkia until Monday evening. El Al called on its costumers to regularly check the company's website for updates.

 

Earlier Sunday, the cabinet approved the "open skies" agreement with a 16 to three majority, while striking airline employees protested in front of the building, clashing with security forces.

 

The deal will enable all EU-based airlines to fly directly from everywhere in the EU to Israel. Israeli airlines could fly to all EU airports. This deal, airline employees insist, may lead to thousands of layoffs.

 

El Al's Workers Union Chairman Asher Adari said "We are ashamed of the government of Israel for abandoning thousands of families. We'll continue our struggle. Minister Yair Lapid has abandoned us to his whims."

 

"I urge Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini to support us in this just struggle," Adari added.

 

Arkia's Head of Workers Union Yigal Cohen said "We will continue to strike and fight; we will require of the chairman of the Histadrut to gear up in the fight for Israeli airlines. Minister of Transport cannot eliminate all air traffic in the country. We'll fight with all we've got."

 

 

 

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