El Al backup plan circumvents Shabbat desecration

March 4, 2007 10:35


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El Al circumvented the Shabbat flight conundrum for the second time on Friday by switching passengers on a delayed flight to a Swiss airline, Army Radio reported Sunday. The El Al plane, which was meant to leave from Toronto on Friday, took off eight hours behind schedule due to harsh weather conditions in Canada. Since the delay would have required a Shabbat landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport - a move that would have gotten the airline in hot water with the haredi community, which has already threatened a boycott several times - El Al implemented what it calls the "Sandur exercise." The exercise entails having the El Al plane land in Zurich, Switzerland, rather than Tel Aviv, so as to avoid flying on Shabbat, and then transferring the passengers to a Sandur Airlines plane. The Sandur plane then completes the last leg of the journey on Shabbat, thereby averting a confrontation between El Al and the haredi community. According to the report, Friday was the second time this move has been implemented.

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