Four days after a Russian airliner was grounded at Ben-Gurion Airport in response to a similar move by the authorities at the Moscow airport, Ynet has learned that Israel is expected to apologize to the Russians for the incident.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov plans to personally apologize to the heads of Russia's Trans Euro airline.
Misezhnikov, who has been working to promote tourism between Russia and Israel and ease tensions between the countries' aviation authorities, which existed prior to this week's incident, is expected to condemn the grounding of the Russian plane.
Leonid Pleshkov, chairman of Trans Euro's directorate, wrote Misezhnikov a letter saying, "The current situation hurts Israel as a country that welcomes incoming tourism. Flights (between Israel and Russia) have not stopped for even one day; this bolstered relations between the countries and citizens despite military incidents, terror attacks and other negative occurrences."
Pleshkov defined the grounding of the Russian airplane as a violation of international agreements. "We had the necessary permits to take off, and it is clear that our company and its passengers had nothing to do with the problems involving the Arkia plane (which was grounded in Russia). It is unfortunate that our passengers and crew were used to pressure the authorities in Russia. This is unacceptable," he wrote to the Israeli minister.
Olga Gouresky contributed to the report