El Al Turns to Labor Court to Avert Pilots' Mass Resignation

The resignations could ground the company’s airlines and cause the airline serious damage.

El Al planes parked at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv.
David Bachar

El AL asked the Tel Aviv regional labor court to intervene instantly in a dispute between management and the pilots in order to keep flights from being grounded on Wednesday. El Al asked the court to order pilots not to resign from jobs in air operation oversight.

The pilots’ resignation is supposed to take effect Wednesday in part. The court is planning to hold a hearing on the matter this morning.

The pilots who are resigning are the managers of the fleets of 737s, 767s and 744s, the pilot in charge of training for the 737 fleet, the manager of operations and the technical manager for the 737 fleet. They have said they are resigning due to a lack of faith in management and how it has handled the conflict with the pilots.

The resignations could ground the company’s airlines and cause the airline serious damage.

In addition, the pilots’ union has threatened that head pilot Doron Karni may also resign. The Israel Airlines Authority would be forced to ground El Al’s planes if the company lacks a head pilot.

The current crisis erupted due to international standards that cap the age at which pilots may fly international fights at 65. However, Israeli men can only retire at 67. The dispute is over which pilots aged 65 and above will be paid now that they can no longer fly international fights.