STRIKE: Ben-Gurion Airport Moving To ‘Yom Kippur’ Status At Week’s End

The employees of the Israel Airports Authority issued a surprising announcement, according to which Ben-Gurion Airport will operate on Yom Kippur format come the week’s end.

Some 28,000 passengers on 180 flights face having to make alternative travel arrangements due to the skeleton staff that would be on duty.

The background to the strike, is an attempt by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to collect municipal property taxes from the Authority, and distribute them to the surrounding towns.

Union chief Pinchas Idan blamed the Interior Ministry for the planned strike, saying that it was placing the IAA in an impossible situation.

“This is an attempt to create facts on the ground and a political power play in the year that local elections [are scheduled], with the goal of raising money from the IAA in order to solve local problems facing towns in the surrounding area, and all this before a court hearing has been held on the issue. We call on the Interior Minister and to the committee formed to deal with the tax issue to wait until the court hearing, and not to make any attempts at establishing facts on the ground.”

A spokesperson from the Interior Ministry rejected Idan’s claims and decried the planned strike.

“The Interior Ministry rejects any attempt to influence the [legally] normative and orderly efforts of the…committee. The hearings will continue to be held as planned, and the committee’s findings with regards to Ben Gurion Airport will be presented to the minister as planned.”

The following strike schedule was released on Wednesday:

In this case, the strike results in closure on Shabbos.

  • The airport will close to takeoffs on Friday, 13 Kislev at 5:00pm until motzei Shabbos at 6:00pm.
  • Security inspections and check-ins on motzei Shabbos will begin at 6:00pm, which means the first flights will take off beginning at 9:00pm.
  • All operations will be normal, including the control tower, fire services, central operations, security, baggage carriers, as well as companies servicing planes.
  • A special team was established, including representatives of the Committee and the Port Authority, to approve exceptional requests for landings and takeoffs, including ambulance flights.
  • The airport administration and employees are ready to care for passengers whose flights are scheduled after sanctions are set to begin and they will remain in the airport. Preparations include baby formula, mattresses and blankets.
  • In the coming hours, as requests are received from airlines wishing to move up or cancel flights, a clearer picture will be available. The sanctions will impact 160 flights and their 25,500 passengers.
  • The Airports Authority calls on passengers to remain informed and monitor flight schedules.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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