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Ben-Gurion Airport will close down for international flights Friday nights and early Saturday mornings to repair one of the runways, TheMarker has learned.

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) plan has caused quite a lot of protest among foreign airlines, which will be particularly affected by the closing. Their competitor, El Al, will not feel the effect as it does not fly on the Jewish Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown Saturday. The shutdown is scheduled to start on May 18, and will be in effect on Friday nights at 6 P.M. until 4:30 A.M. on Saturday morning for a period of six weeks.

The managers of foreign airlines complained, saying that they were being discriminated against.

The IAA responded yesterday: "Runway 30-12, including the aprons, will be repaired over four and a half months. For all practical purposes, the work means the closure of the airport... There is no connection between the choice of the time for performing the work and El Al. It should be emphasized that any other time frame would have a serious impact on other airlines."