Airlines Seek Compensation in Wake of Israeli Fuel Crisis

Airline bosses tell Israel Airports Authority they have lost millions as a result of the crisis; International Air Transport Association to warn airlines not to depend on refueling facilities in Israel.

Airlines operating at Ben-Gurion International Airport demanded compensation on Wednesday for the damage done to their businesses by Israel's recent jet fuel crisis.

Airline bosses met with Israel's Airports Authority to discuss the crisis and the financial toll it has taken on their operations.

Passengers sleeping at Ben-Gurion Airport’s Terminal 3 on Friday May 6, 2011.Gil Cohen-Magen

Speaking with the Airports Authority board of directors' chairman, Ovadia Eli, and Airport Authority CEO, Koby Mor, airlines asked for compensation from the Israeli government to make up for losses they have incurred. According to the airline managers, who wished to remain anonymous, the damage runs to millions of shekels for each airline.

Owing to the dearth of reliable jet fuel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will soon advise airlines operating in Israel to ensure they have enough fuel for return trips in and out of the country, and to avoid relying on refueling facilities at Ben-Gurion.

The jet fuel crisis started last week, when commercial air traffic out of Israel was shut down after airplane fuel at Ben-Gurion International Airport was found to be contaminated. All flights out of the country were halted, stranding tens of thousands of passengers. The contaminated fuel has also been found in, and done damage to, road vehicles in other parts of the country.