Strike planned at Ben Gurion Airport cancelled

Massive potential strike at Ben Gurion Airport averted after Finance Ministry promises to listen to demands of airport workers.

Tzvi Lev ,

Long lines at Ben Gurion Airport
Long lines at Ben Gurion Airport
Heski Baruch

A massive strike at Ben Gurion Airport that threatened to cripple Israel's air traffic system was averted at the last second after the Finance Ministry promised to intervene with a reform planned by the Interior Ministry which angered airport employees.

According to reports, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon asked Histadrut Union head Avi Nissenkoren to put off the strike, telling him that "I want to prevent the unnecessary suffering of passengers flying over the weekend and the potential damage to our economy".

The union representing Israel Airport Authority workers had declared a strike at Ben Gurion Airport for this coming Sabbath, shutting down all operations from Friday evening until Saturday night.

The union declared the strike in response to plans by the Interior Ministry to levy property taxes on the IAA. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri recently appointed a committee to deal with the matter, in the hopes of raising additional funds from the IAA for the benefit of surrounding towns.

If the threat to strike over the Sabbath is carried out, it would affect nearly 180 flights and 28,000 passengers.

In October, the Ben Gurion Airport workers' union launched a surprise strike on Sunday night, in protest against the dismissal of airport employees. As a result, many passengers who landed in Israel were forced to remain aboard the planes for about an hour without any prior notice.

In one incident, passengers aboard a Ukrainian Airlines flight had to stand outside the airplane, near one of the runways, for a lengthy time period, until a bus arrived to take them to the terminal.