EU threatens halt flights to Israel over pilot ID system
Code Positive is designed to prevent hijacked aircraft from entering Israeli airspace, but European Commission worries pilots will be afraid of interception should the system malfunction.
The European Commission opposes the use of the pilot ID system Code Positive, which Israel wants all incoming flights to use, and is threatening to halt all flights from Europe to Ben-Gurion Airport.
Code Positive is designed to prevent hijacked aircraft from entering Israeli airspace.
The European Commission's director of air transport, Daniel Calleja, recently wrote Giora Rom, head of Israel's Civil Aviation Authority, warning him that aviation ties between Israel and Europe were in danger if European airlines have to use the system. Calleja also wrote Rom that if Israel did not cooperate with the EC on this issue, this would hurt talks on a new and unified aviation agreement between the countries of the EU and Israel.
Code Positive, developed by Elbit, involves the use of an electronic card by each pilot, which transmits a signal to the Israeli control tower and identifies the pilot.
Calleja claimed it will be hard to enforce the use of the electronic card on all 15,000 commercial pilots in the European Union, and said pilots would be afraid of interception should the system malfunction.
Continental Airlines, Air Canada, Delta Airlines, U.S. Air and Ethiopian Airlines began using the system after problems encountered during trials that were launched at the end of last year were corrected.
Israel called a halt to the trials in April after a problem with the electronic card issued to a Delta pilot made the air force scramble fighter jets, on the mistaken assumption that the flight had been hijacked by a hostile party. Elbit corrected the problems, but last week an Ethiopian Airlines pilot using the system failed to communicate as required, and again air force planes were scrambled.