Bankrupt Airline Leaves Hundreds of Israelis Stranded

Hundreds of Israeli travelers who booked return flights from South America with Air Comet have found themselves stranded after the Spanish airline went belly-up and ceased operations last month. Their tickets worthless, many have asked family members to contact travel agencies in an attempt to return home.

In response, El Al issued a specially priced offer to Air Comet ticket-holders in South America.

A British court ordered that the struggling airline's planes be seized due to its 25 million euro debt to a German bank. The airline has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Dozens of Israelis stuck in South America, mostly backpackers, were flown home last month as part of a campaign organized by the Spanish government to extricate some 6,000 Air Comet customers stranded overseas. However, there are more than 100 Israelis left in South America who had intended to fly back with the airline over the next two months.

At the request of travel agencies, round-trip tickets are being offered by El Al at a 50% discount to Israeli travelers who had booked through Air Comet, as well $600 flights from Sao Paulo, Brazil direct to Tel Aviv.

The Spanish airline cut off all communication with its Israeli representative after suspending operations without warning.