UK plane 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
The Transportation Ministry has refused to approve British discount airline BMI's flight schedule to Ben-Gurion Airport until a new schedule is also set for Israeli carriers flying to London's Heathrow Airport.
The disagreement was triggered last week when BMI issued a press release saying it would start flying to Israel on March 13, following a $500,000 marketing campaign.
The Israel Airports Authority sent a letter to the British Airports Authority on Wednesday saying BMI's flights to Israel would not start as planned if the Israeli carriers' slots are not confirmed.
Transportation Ministry Director-General Gideon Siterman said the BMI flights to Israel were conditioned on "reciprocity" and that the British had yet to approve the Israeli carriers' flights to Heathrow. He said there was still time to resolve the issue. BMI had no comment by press time.
A second dispute on flight slots erupted on Wednesday when Israel and Germany failed to reach a new civil aviation agreement after months of deadlock.
The Jerusalem Post has learned that those discussions failed because of a German refusal to approve improved slots for EL AL in Frankfurt.
Tal Muscal, Lufthansa press relations adviser in Israel, said in a statement: "Lufthansa regrets the suspension of the bilateral discussions. Lufthansa invested great efforts in new plans for the promotion of incoming tourism to Israel using the Munich hub. We hope that both governments will be able to agree on a new agreement soon and the company will continue to invest resources and efforts to promote tourism to Israel from any country it operates in."