Photo: Gil Yohanan
Yair Lapid at airline workers demo
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Ben Gurion International Airport
Photo: Reuters

Arkia CEO to Lapid: We must end this strike

Gadi Teper urges meeting to resolve crisis caused by open skies deal with EU. Finance minister claims strike unnecessary while airlines demand State to fully fund security expenses

Arkia Airlines CEO Gadi Teper asked Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday to hold an urgent meeting in order to bring the airlines' strike to an end.


"The ongoing strike is causing financial damage to the economy, the public and the airlines. We must try and bring a swift ending to the strike while ensuring the survival of Israeli aviation and its thousands of employees," Teper said.


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The CEO forwarded a similar request to the Prime Minister's Office, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Histadrut Labor Federation.

תקועים בנתב"ג (צילום: רויטרס)

Stuck in Ben Gurion International Airport (Photo: Reuters)


Lapid replied: "The open skies is a done deal. It's a good policy for Israelis, Israeli economy and Israeli tourism.


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"Nevertheless, Israeli airlines' special problems must be addressed. These emanate mostly from their special security needs, which can be solved.


(צילום: מוטי קמחי)

(Photo: Motti Kimchi)


"I instructed my staff to come up with a solution to assist the Israeli airlines. The strike was unnecessary from the start and it's unnecessary now."


The State currently funds 60% of the Israeli airlines' security expenses, which amount to NIS 500 million ($137 million) annually.

(צילום: מוטי קמחי)

(Photo: Motti Kimchi)


According to agreements between the Finance Ministry and the airlines, the State will increase the funding to 80% (an increase of NIS 100 million a year) if the airlines accept the "open skies" deal.


Currently, it appears the Finance Ministry is considering a further increase in order to bring the strike to an end.


On Sunday, Israir Airline CEO told Ynet that the airlines will agree to the deal if the State fully funds their security expenses.

(צילום: ירון ברנר)

(Photo: Yaron Brener) 


El Al Airline CEO Eliezer Shkedi also referred to the "open skies" deal and said: "We turn to the government to act immediately to resolve the different issues, which will allow for a fair and equal competition, the first of which is the full state funding of the Israeli airlines' security expenses."


At the same time, some have tried to bring the strike to a legally-assisted end. The Manufacturers Association, Airports Authority and the Chamber of Commerce have all filed petitions with the National Labor Court for an injunction against the strikers.


The Chamber of Commerce petition claims there is no legal standing for the planned strike: "This isn't a struggle for work conditions, but an attack against an economic policy decision: A decision to sign the 'open skies' deal which means opening Israeli aviation to competition, creating new jobs and reducing prices for the public's benefit."


The court will discuss the petitions at 5 pm on Monday in the presence of the airlines' representatives.



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פרסום ראשון: 04.22.13, 15:04
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