Business in Brief

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IAA may halt charter companies’ operations for leaving passengers to sleep on airport floor

The Israel Airports Authority is considering halting two charter flight companies’ operations at Ben-Gurion International Airport after they left passengers to sleep on the terminal floor when their flights were delayed. The authority said Italian company Air Dolomiti and French company Corsair International had “poorly handled” their passengers, after 150 were left to sleep at the terminal when flights scheduled to depart at 1 A.M. were delayed. The flights ultimately took off only the following afternoon, more than 13 hours later. The airlines’ CEOs were called to Israel to provide explanations. IAA chairman Shmuel Zakai said yesterday that if the CEOs couldn’t provide proper explanations, he would consider halting the companies’ local operations. ‏(Zohar Blumenkrantz‏)

Court rules ‘auction’ winners entitled to refund

Customers who participated in auctions on the website 1BUY1 can get their money back, following a Tel Aviv District Court ruling yesterday. The decision came in a class action suit claiming that the site presented sales as auctions, but in practice they were illicit gambling or lotteries. Judge Ruth Ronnen ruled that customers who won auctions − not those who participated and lost − were eligible for full refunds, minus any money that they won in that auction. The site offers up goods for auction, with the maximum bid set in advance. But potential buyers have to pay in order to participate in the auction. If a buyer submits a bid that was already submitted, his bid is canceled along with any other identical bids. The winner is the person who makes the highest bid that was not canceled, and he can then purchase the item for the sum he bid. But because bidders cannot see what other players bid, this is not an auction but a gamble, alleged the suit. ‏(Yasmin Gueta‏)

HOT sidelining workers who might strike

Cable company HOT is trying to pressure its employees not to strike by threatening to take them off the shift schedule if they do. Managers at HOT have been pressuring employees to sign agreements stating they’ll show up for shifts − even if the union goes on strike. Those who aren’t signing aren’t being given shifts. HOT’s union, which is organized under Koach L’ovdim, has been fighting efficiency measures and plans to outsource employees. HOT stated in response that Koach L’ovdim does not actually represent its workers by law, and confirmed that it won’t put workers on the schedule if they don’t commit to showing up. ‏(Hila Weissberg‏)

Despite law, info lacking on public transport

A law mandating that proper signage and real-time information be made available to public transport users still isn’t being implemented, the Knesset Research and Information Center has found. In 2010, the Knesset voted on the overhaul for the public transport signage and information systems, which was supposed to be set up by 2012, including electronic signs with real-time information at bus stops. But that’s far from happening. MK Tamar Zandberg, who commissioned the report, stated, “The public is captive to a public transport system that doesn’t work, and continues using it for lack of choice.” ‏(Daniel Schmil‏)

Book Law approved by Knesset panel

The era of four-for-NIS-100 sales at the bookstore chains may be coming to an end: The Knesset Culture Committee approved a bill yesterday that forbids sellers from discounting books beyond the jacket price before they’ve been on the market for a year and a half, in an effort to protect publishers. The so-called “Book Law” has been heralded by book publishing sector sources as a means of improving the status of both books and publishers, but consumers will ultimately be paying more. The bill is supposed to take effect at the beginning of 2014. ‏(Ido Efrati‏)

IAA approves plans to build hotel at Ben-Gurion

Israel Airports Authority management bodies have approved plans to build a hotel at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The hotel would have hundreds of rooms constructed in modular fashion, making them easier to build. The contractor who wins the tender to build the hotel will be the one who does the actual planning. ‏(Zohar Blumenkrantz‏)  

Passengers waiting at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Credit: David Bachar