Some 500 flights from Israel scheduled to leave in the coming months have already been, or are set to be canceled, Channel Two reported. The cancellations are due to a lack of security personnel to accompany flights. Sources in the travel industry said that even more flights are likely to be canceled during the busy summer season.
Under Israeli law, all flights of Israeli airlines leaving the country must be accompanied by a security agent. In recent months, there has been a marked shortage of such personnel, travel industry sources told Channel Two. As a result, some 500 flights between April and October have already been canceled, and more cancellations could be in the works.
Most of the canceled flights were on Israir and Arkia — with El Al flights largely untouched by the shortage. The two airlines have already filed a complaint with state antitrust agencies, demanding that the supply of security personnel be equally divided among all the airlines. Both airlines said that the lack of personnel was stymieing their ability to fly on new routes they have been granted.
According to the airlines, El Al, which runs the security organization responsible for airline security personnel, is giving precedence to its own flights, even though it is not allowed to do that by law. In a statement, El Al said that “we have not yet seen the complaints filed by Israir and Arkia. The security office follows the law and does not discriminate against anyone.”