Air Traffic Resumes at Tel Aviv Airport After Brief Worker Strike

Israel has yet to reopen its borders following the coronavirus crisis and airport workers are demanding an ETA

Hadar Kane
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Empty check-in counters of Israel's national flag carrier El Al, Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, May 14, 2020.
Empty check-in counters of Israel's national flag carrier El Al, Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, May 14, 2020.Credit: AFP
Hadar Kane

Air traffic resumed at Israel's Ben Gurion airport on Friday after a strike by workers demanding compensation for wages lost due to the coronavirus crisis forced a brief shutdown, an airport spokeswoman said.

Israel's airport workers union said the strike was called off following a request by Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev, who on Twitter called the walkout "unacceptable" and urged the union to negotiate a solution.

The interruption in air traffic lasted several hours. The strike, intended to pressure the government to resume a regular flights schedule amid the coronavirus crisis, applies to both passenger and cargo flights.

The workers' union wrote to the health ministry that 2,500 airport employees have been furloughed and will see no income starting July 1. They demanded that the government come up with a plan for resuming flights, threatening that if a solution is not found by Sunday, all airport workers will stay at home.

In a statement, the union said it would meet with the transportation and finance ministries on Monday.

Despite a relative return to normal in Israel, the government has yet to open its borders and foreign nationals are still barred from entering the country. Government officials are debating the reopening of borders with certain countries with a low coronavirus infection rate, such as Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro, Georgia, Seychelles and Austria.

The Tourism Ministry, however, has cautioned that resuming flights will likely result in a disproportionate number of Israeli tourists vacationing in Greece and Cyprus but a low number of foreign tourists coming to Israel, and therefore may further harm the local tourism industry,

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