The fact that EL AL does not fly on the Jewish Shabbat has created over the years a “virtual reality” that can be only the result of a twisted political compromise that enables the religious parties in Israel to be part of any coalition.
Sundor, the virtual subsidiary of EL AL, was formed to operate part of the Israeli airline’s Shabbat flights. The same aircraft, the same aircrews but that is supposed to deceive God.
For years this format worked. Recently the Israel civil aviation authority (CAA), revoked the operational certification of Sundor. According to the CAA this decision was made after the airline failed to comply with “basic requirements” of an airline.
Sundor was formed in 1977 under the name “EL AL Charter Services” and in 1981 became Sundor.
The CAA’s action was taken after the European Aviation Safety Agency demanded to correct the problems that were discovered during apron inspections at European airports.
Giora Rom, director general of the Israeli CAA, said that Sundor failed in all criteria and that called for an immediate action.
Until a permanent solution is found to the problems passengers are being flown on alternative flights.
In mid week, Sundor’s passengers are being flown by EL AL on its scheduled flights. On weekends Sundor buys capacity on flights of foreign airlines.
Regulated civil aviation cannot live in a world of tricks that contradict every basic rule that was made to ensure safe commercial aviation.
I hope that the revoked licence is a trigger that will bring an end to this farce when aircraft are flying in disguise.
The crisis with Sundor should lead to a real attempt to end the ban on EL AL’s Shabbat flights. It’s time that the Israeli airline assumed a normal operational pattern especially as it is not state owned anymore.