Israir Ceases Flights on Shabbos

An Israir flight taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Israir Airlines has announced that it is ceasing to fly on Shabbos and the chagim. As of last Shabbos, just four days after the acquisition of the airline by Rami Levy and Shalom Chaim, the company ceased activity on Shabbos. The flights concerned are on the Eilat route. Henceforth they will operate on Motzoei Shabbos.

Talking to Globes after the deal was completed, Chaim said, “We paid dearly, but we expect that Israir will double its value.” The valuation of Israir for the purposes of the deal was NIS 180 million.

In the interview, Chaim discussed his intention to stop flights on Shabbos. “In my personal life, I’m a religious Jew who observes the Shabbat, and all my businesses are closed on Shabbat. We respect those who observe the Shabbat, and this is not a personal whim of mine, it’s the DNA of Judaism.

“On the business side, we’re at the examination stage. We’ll examine the economic implications of the possibility of reducing activity on Shabbat. We want to reach a situation in which there’s a weekly day of rest for the pilots as well. There are many businesses that don’t operate on weekends, and that can include aviation too.

“The discussion about Shabbat was mainly in the media, as a consequence of the world view of the shareholders, but we haven’t yet gone into this in depth. We understand trade, but we still don’t understand aviation as much. Within two to three months we’ll be wiser in this respect.”

And so, after a few months, it has been decided that the airline will stop flying on Shabbos. Israir thus joins El Al subsidiary Sun D’Or, which has also halted flights on Shabbos.

El Al itself does not operate passenger flights on Shabbos, and when it was taken over by Eli Rozenberg, this policy was extended to Sun D’Or.


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