Travel restrictions

Israeli airlines call for end of government travel restrictions

In a joint letter to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, El Al Israel Airlines, Arkia Israeli Airlines and Israir again appealed for financial and regulatory support, arguing that if the country’s strict travel restriction regime persists, they risk collapsing. The three carriers launched a similar appeal in early August.

In the letter co-authored on September 23, the managing directors of Israel’s scheduled carriers addressed Bennett, the finance minister, and a series of other politicians and officials accusing ongoing government policies of destroying their businesses and arguing for a rollback of restrictions, especially as airlines had not benefited from bailouts across other sectors of the economy, The Times of Israel reported.

“There are doubts that Israeli airlines will be able to survive this crisis without government support,” wrote Arkia CEO Gadi Tepper, CEO of El Al Avigal Soreq and CEO of El Al Avigal Soreq. ‘Israir Uri Sirkis, adding that their companies have been operating under “conditions of grave uncertainty” for over a year.

Today, despite widespread vaccinations within and beyond Israel’s borders, business is still hampered by entry bans for non-citizens or residents, quarantine rules and a campaign by the state so that residents do not needlessly steal.

A few days ago, Soreq responded to an offer from the Ministry of Finance for $ 50 million in aid, with conditions, demanding $ 100 million in “immediate compensation” for the damage which he said were allegedly caused by the strict travel restrictions.

In May, the government offered bailouts of $ 210 million for El Al and $ 16 million for Israir in exchange for 20 years of tickets for the two carriers’ flight safety officials. But the offer came with conditions, delaying transactions – in El Al’s case, for it to issue $ 150 million in new shares and for majority shareholder Kenny Rosenberg to inject an additional $ 43 million into the offer. the society. A similar deal with Arkia was also delayed because it owed an unpaid debt to the state.

In their most recent letter, the three airlines also asked Bennett to arrange a meeting with the ministries of finance, transport, tourism and health to discuss “concrete and detailed proposals and necessary actions that the government must take to ensure the continued existence of the Israeli air force. In addition, they called for a risk management assessment of health regulations in Tel Aviv Ben-Gurion, including quarantine requirements for arrivals, and a framework for vaccinated tourists to enter the country by performing tests. PCR or antibody at the airport, currently only available. to the Israelis and a small number of visitors.

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