Postponement of Airport Strike a Mixed Blessing, B-G Officials Say

A strike at Ben-Gurion Airport would affect even more passengers if postponed to tomorrow than it would if it occurred today, as some 47,000 passengers are scheduled to pass through the airport tomorrow on 281 incoming and outgoing flights. Today, only 27,000 passengers are scheduled to arrive and depart via the airport on some 160 flights.

Nevertheless, foreign airline executives heaved a sigh of relief, in the hope that by tomorrow some solution could be found to avert the strike altogether.

El Al yesterday rescheduled several of today's morning flights and said the new schedule would be kept even if the strike does not break out today. Until 8 A.M., all the airline's flights will leave as scheduled, but four flights after 8 A.M. - to New York, Paris, Frankfurt and Athens - have been moved up. Two other flights to London, at 10:30 A.M. and 11:45 A.M. will leave as scheduled, as will flight 007 to New York, scheduled to depart at 10:40 A.M.

Foreign airlines and other Israeli airlines, in contrast, did not change today's flight schedule, hoping the strike would not include the airports.

Foreign airlines yesterday began preparing to deal with a strike, but if the strike results in flights being canceled, there could be a shortage of seats after it ends, as this is peak season and all flights are at full capacity. Neither Israeli nor foreign airlines have additional planes for passengers who may be stuck during the strike, officials said.

Moreover, yesterday was Tisha B'Av, the fast that ends the period of mourning known as the Three Weeks, during which some religious people do not travel. After this period, the religious public joins the rest of the summer travelers.