Travel chaos as Israeli air staff strike

By Jennifer Lipman, September 13, 2010
Ben Gurion airport (Photo: David Shay)

Ben Gurion airport (Photo: David Shay)

Almost 30,000 people are expected to suffer disruption to flights to and from Israel in the lead-up to Yom Kippur because of a strike by Israeli airport staff.

Flights out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport have been grounded indefinitely.

Union officials said initially that planes would be allowed to land but that ground crews would not unload luggage. However they have now agreed to let passengers collect their luggage.

The strike has been organised by the Israel Airports Authority's employees' union following the breakdown of negotiations over the use of staff pension funds.

Rachel Haas, a 23-year-old student from London, was due to fly home today. She only found out that her British Airways flight had been cancelled an hour before she was due to leave for the airport.

She has been booked on to a flight for Tuesday afternoon, but has not been offered any compensation for the extra stay.

She told the JC: “I'm not really sure what will happen.

“There's no guarantee when we'll be able to fly and it's a real inconvenience.”

At Heathrow aiport, passengers boarded a British Airways flight to Israel, but after a 45 minute wait staff said the plane could not take off.

Last updated: 4:17pm, September 13 2010