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Israel Ups Security Payments To El Al After Strike

Israel Ups Security Payments To El Al After Strike

Three Israeli airlines ended their two-day strike following a deal struck between the Finance Ministry and El Al.

The ministry agreed to fund 97.5 percent of the airline’s security costs, up from 70 percent, in order to keep the domestic carrier competitive under the new “open skies” agreement with the European Union. The airlines also agreed to undergo a streamlining process in order to further cut costs.

El Al, as well as Israir and Arkia, on Sunday launched an open-ended strike hours before the European-Mediterranean Sea aviation agreement was approved by Israel’s Cabinet. The agreement, which allows European airlines to increase their flights to Israel for five years, could substantially decrease the costs of airline tickets for Israeli travelers to Europe.

Ben Gurion Airport workers had been set to launch a sympathy strike on Tuesday morning.

In a statement sent to The Jewish Week, El Al said the agreement places “Israeli aviation in unfair competition with European carriers and is weakening the ability to compete equally.”

The airline noted that it has been excluded from a large international airline alliance because of “obvious political reasons,” meaning opposition to Israel’s right to exist.

“The fact that we are not able to join an alliance severely restricts our global operations and destinations served.”

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