Aviation chief slams airlines for failing to comply with departure rules

Ben-Gurion Airport Manager Shmuel Zakai assails Air Dolomiti, Corsair after 150 passengers were left stranded in terminal.

July 29, 2013 19:57
1 minute read.
Passengers asleep at Ben Gurion airport during airlines strike, April 22, 2013.

Passengers asleep at Ben Gurion airport during strike 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


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Following multiple incidents in which airlines failed to comply with the departure slots assigned to them by Ben-Gurion Airport, officials slammed them for noncompliance and even threatened to curb flights from one of the offending parties.

Ben-Gurion Airport manager Shmuel Zakai sent a harsh letter on Monday to the executives of Italy-based Air Dolomiti and France-based Corsair after an incident last week in which about 150 passengers of the two companies stayed the night in Ben-Gurion Airport, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) spokesman said.

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While their planned flight was supposed to depart at 1 a.m. on the night in question, the plane landed in Israel late and therefore missed its window of departure. In addition, due to the absence of crew members from either airline in the airport at the time, passengers were forced to spend the night and the following day in the terminal.

“I will not allow harm to passengers similar to the events that were experienced in the past two weeks,” Zakai wrote. “Airlines that do not function according to the standards accepted in Israel will not be allowed to continue operations from Ben-Gurion Airport, and all that this entails.”

In his letter, Zakai demanded that the airlines strictly keep to the operational schedules assigned to them for exiting Ben-Gurion Airport.

Ben-Gurion Airport closes at night in the summer and winter, and airlines that arrive late are therefore not permitted to open their check-in desks until three hours before their new departure time, the manager emphasized in his letter. Airlines that do not comply with these guidelines will lose their time slots for the relevant season, he added.

Along these lines, Zakai summoned for a second, unrelated incident a representative from Aegean Airlines, after the company recently sold tickets to passengers for a flight whose departure time did not coincide with the exit slot assigned to the airline by the airport. The company’s failure to abide by these rules caused harm to both the passengers and the airport’s planning structure, according to the IAA.

If Aegean Airlines does not provide a reasonable explanation for the incident by Friday, Zakai warned, all of its flights from Ben-Gurion Airport will be canceled as of August 4.

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