Israeli leisure carrier Arkia’s backers have agreed to inject additional funds into the airline to enable it to restore operations.
The agreement comes some five month after the airline halted almost all activity and furloughed over 500 personnel.
Israeli trade union organisation Histadrut says the Nakash brothers, who own the company, will provide funds to “re-open” Arkia.
Under the agreement between the owners and employees, who hold 30% of the company’s shares, Arkia will take out bank loans for 130 million shekels ($38 million) while the Nakash brothers will inject $10 million.
Histadrut has overseen the agreement reached between Arkia chairman and Nakash representative Avi Hurmero and the airline’s workers’ committee chair Aliza Blaish.
The trade union organisation adds that it will also financially support Arkia through a $1.5 million which will be conditioned on the company’s return to activity.
Arkia personnel had expressed concern that the owners did not intend to restore the airline to operation, and the situation had sparked workers’ protests including solidarity strike action by port workers in Eilat.
Histadrut transport workers’ union head Avi Edri says the funding agreement is a “significant first step” for restoring Arkia, adding that – over the next few days – it will seek arrangements on workers’ rights.
Aliza Blaish, however, remains reserved. She claims Arkia has been able to return to operation, like its competitors, but that its owners have chosen to prolong its dormancy.
“Only we are on the ground,” she says, stating that she will “believe” the terms of the agreement will be kept “when we see an Arkia aircraft in the air”.
Arkia has yet to respond to FlightGlobal requests for comment on the agreement.