New BMI Flights May Not Take Off

The new BMI flights from England to Israel may not take off: the Transportation Ministry has refused to approve British Midland's flight schedule.

Israel's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sent a warning letter last week to British aviation officials, stating that until the matter of landing-time slots for Israeli airlines at London's Heathrow Airport are settled, as required by the new aviation agreement between the two countries, the CAA would not approve BMI's new flight schedule. The warning could put in doubt the scheduled March 13 launch of BMI's flights to Israel.

BMI has already started a $500,000 advertising campaign, including the announcement of its flight schedule and prices.

Ministry director general Gideon Siterman is in London, where he said "Israel is very determined in its demand that Britain keep its commitments under the aviation agreement." He said there was still enough time left for the British to keep their promises.

British Midland's Israel office was not available for comment.