The strike is over, the agreement is in effect – now reality bites

The Israeli airlines that went on strike on Sunday after the Open Skies agreement with the EU was ratified used a very ‘rusty ladder’ to climb down from their high horse.

This was the most unjustified strike in the history of Israeli aviation. It left thousands of passengers of EL AL, Arkia and Israir stranded in Tel-Aviv and many international destinations.

Last night the airlines were offered the ‘rusty ladder’ – and climbed down in minutes.

The solution has nothing to do with the so-called reasons for the strike.

In staff-level meetings between the two sides, the Israel Finance Ministry agreed to raise its participation in airline security costs from 70% to 97.5%.

The annual cost of the security arrangements for the three Israeli airlines is estimated at $120 millon a year.

Sources say that EL AL will save approximately $30 million a year thanks to the higher subsidy.

Some say that the saving will be smaller, but even if these numbers are correct this is not the sum of money that could have caused the “end of the Israeli airlines” – as was printed on the posters carried by airline employees in their demonstration during a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

If that sum is the thin line between the continued operation of EL AL and a cease of operations then the workers and the management should think of a new, more reliable slogan.

Now with Open Skies ratified, the Israeli airlines – especially EL AL – will have to take some necessary steps, such as laying off employees, returning to seven-day operations and trimming the salaries of top management.

The stranded passengers were victims of a strike that was the result of emotions, and not based on any solid fact.

The only solid fact is that the Open Skies agreement is in effect, and the Israeli airlines should stop whining and do the right thing.

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