Another Airport Strike Looming on the Horizon

The threat of a new strike in the aviation industry is clouding the skies for airlines flying to and from Israel.

The employees of the Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) will hold an emergency meeting today to decide on what steps to take to protest against the management's reorganization plans, TheMarker learned over the weekend.

The ICAA workers will decide at the meeting whether to go on strike immediately. They claim the management's reorganization plan is being formulated without the unions' input and without any coordination, or agreement, with the employees.

Such a strike by ICAA workers would seriously hurt the flow of passengers and flights to and from Israel.

This is because the employees, and therefore the authority, would not approve flights; and would harm charter lines, in particular, as well as unscheduled flights by regular airlines. Such flights by the regular airlines are in addition to the already approved regular winter schedules. Private pilots would also be unable to renew their licenses.

In addition, workers would not carry out airplane inspections and not supply licenses for operating planes nor approve their airworthiness.

The head of the ICAA, Udi Zohar, is preparing a plan to reorganize the authority, whose most important feature is the hiring of 60 new employees.

This would double the number of ICAA workers. Another part of the plan, to which the present workers vehemently object, is the possibility of employing outside subcontractors.

ICAA workers are worried that the hiring of the new employees will harm their employment status, salaries and professional standing. The workers say the entire process is being carried out without involving them and with no coordination with their union.

They also claim that all attempts to discuss the matter with the heads of the Transportation Ministry were rebuffed.

Strike effects not over yet

Delta Airlines flew two flights to the U.S. over the weekend to make up for the damage caused by last week's strike in support of municipal employees who have remained unpaid for months.

Delta flew wide-body 777s to Atlanta both Friday and very early this morning, mostly for religious customers who did not want to fly on the Jewish Sabbath, to provide for passengers stuck due to the strike.