Aviation Czar Raps Foreign Airline Crews for Not Staying in Israel

Chim Nir allowed to keep flying out of Megiddo, Rosh Pina

Civil Aviation Authority director Udi Zohar yesterday criticized foreign airlines for avoiding overnight stays for their aircrews.

Zohar told TheMarker that the airlines received no directive from his organization to avoid straying in Israel.

There is no danger to flights to Israel, Zohar said, neither to Ben-Gurion International Airport nor to Ovda airport in the Negev.

"Professionally speaking, there is no need to take unusual measures as a result of the conflict in northern Israel," he said.

The civil aviation czar also said he took the unusual step of permitting Chim Nir to continue operating out of the Rosh Pina and Megiddo domestic airports.

The company's core business is crop-dusting in northern Israel, but it also has participated in efforts to put out fires in the region resulting from missile strikes in forests and farmland.

"The permits are unusual in terms of mandatory rest hours at my discretion," Zohar said. "I defined an emergency situation, and they are working under emergency guidelines."

The chair of the foreign airlines panel and CEO of Continental Airlines in Israel, Avi Friedman, said: "All the foreign airlines continue to fly to Israel on a routine and unchanged basis. There is no wave of cancelations, and I would hope this situation will continue."

Regarding foreign air crews not staying overnight in the country, Friedman said that airlines have problems with the crews, and that must be understood.