After El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) filed a request to operate special flights from New York for Israelis left stranded overseas by the closure of Ben Gurion airport, Knesset Constitution Committee chairman Yakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) has also requested that rescue flights be operated from the US to Israel.
Asher told the Knesset Constitution Committee that he had asked Minister of Transport Miri Regev and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein to allow rescue flights from the US on the same form as the Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. rescue flights from Frankfurt.
Asher said, "We need rescue centers, one in Europe and one in the US. If there are daily flights now operating from Europe, then we should have one every other day from Europe and one every other day from the US. People have to go through crazy things at the moment. They get to Frankfurt and there isn't a flight leaving the airport and they have to wait closed up in a small room."
He added, "The Minister of Health has given his consent from a medical professional point of view to this matter. Now the ball is in the court of the Ministry of Transport. I spoke with the minister and the tender director. They are checking with the Israel Airports Authority, which also agrees on principle. They are checking it out and I hope and I am certain that there will be good news on this matter."
El Al, which had wanted to fly to New York today, says that there are thousands of passengers stuck there. El Al's request has yet to be approved.
United and Delta fly daily cargo flights from the US to Tel Aviv but are prevented from taking passengers on their empty seats. The airlines hope that it will soon be possible to bring passengers in and out who have special exemptions.
Arkia Airlines Ltd. has also requested permission to operate rescue flights to Dubai where hundreds of Israelis are stranded.
Officially Ben Gurion Airport is closed until February 8 but the cabinet is expected to extend the closure to February 15 and possibly beyond that due to fears that Covid variants that resist the Pfizer vaccination will be brought into the country.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 4, 2021
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