Foreign airlines could stop Israel flights if insurance premiums rise
Transportation Ministry concerned about 'consequences' of air travel to and from Israel in light of fighting in Lebanon.
Foreign airlines could be forced to reduce their scheduled flights to and from Israel, or suspend operations here entirely, if their insurance premiums go up due to the fighting in the North, according to the local head of a foreign carrier who spoke to TheMarker on Tuesday.
The source who wished to remain anonymous said that at an emergency meeting held this week with Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog, he and his colleagues asked the government to apply pressure on international insurers to keep the carriers' passenger and aircraft insurance premiums from rising as a result of the new security situation.
The executive added that Herzog instructed the representatives of foreign carriers to explain to their home countries that despite the missile strikes in the North, many of the country's tourist sites are operating as usual.
A senior Transportation Ministry official expressed concern about the "serious consequences" for air transportation to and from Israel as a result of continued fighting in Lebanon. He said he was worried about the drop in the number of incoming tourists, but said that the war will have less effect on travel abroad by Israelis.
TheMarker has learned that Swiss International Air Lines has stopped putting up its flight crews in Tel Aviv hotels due to the current hostilities, joining Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines in returning crews to their own countries rather than having them stay here between flights.
Air France and KLM are flying their crews to Larnaca, Cyprus to rest between journeys.
"The flight from Zurich will depart later, so the aircraft will be on the ground at Ben-Gurion Airport for less time, and the same flight crew will operate the return flight," the CEO of Swiss in Israel, Avner Gordon, said in response to this report. "We never not put up the flight attendants in Israel in any case. There will be no changes to departures from Ben-Gurion, and passengers will not be affected."