El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin published on Monday a letter in which he lamented the public uproar over the incident which occurred on Flight LY002 last Friday, and expressed confidence in the professionalism of the airline staff, but that the company will conduct an investigation of the incident.
Usishkin wrote that during the entire flight from New York to Tel Aviv, the airline was doing its utmost to find a satisfactory solution to avoid a landing in Israel after the onset of Shabbos.
He noted that due to the snowstorm in New York, other airlines had cancelled their flights, but that El Al did not, hoping to provide its passengers with the scheduled departure. However, he explained, flight conditions (including a change of route, which is beyond the control of the airline) delayed the arrival.
Finally, addressing the much-bruited question of what actually happened on the flight – namely, did chareidi passengers assault crew members, etc. – Usishkin acknowledged conflicting versions of the incident, but said “I believe in our people, their abilities, and their professionalism.”
The letter emphasized that El Al has not accused any group of misconduct in the affair. But considering the importance of the matter, Usishkin said that he will appoint a committee to investigate the incident and recommend ways to avoid a repetition in the future.
Meanwhile, passengers on the flight were reportedly planning on taking legal action against El Al for its handling of the matter, but that discussion was ongoing and no final decision had been made.
The Jerusalem Post on Monday quoted “sources close to El Al” who said that the airline was planning to offer compensation to the passengers and would make its decision in the coming days.