Work at Ben Gurion International Airport to continue

Ministers of Finance and Transportation reached agreement allowing for the continuation of construction work, other vital functions at BG.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Ben Gurion airport
Ben Gurion airport
Flash 90

Following a meeting between Finance Minister Israel Katz and Transport Minister Miri Regev, it was decided to extend existing airport employment agreements until September of this year with the aim of creating workplace stability in view of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

It was also agreed that the Airports Authority will accelerate construction work on airport infrastructure; in particular work that can be easily performed in the absence of passenger traffic, with the understanding that these infrastructures are essential for the airline industry and national economy as a whole once the crisis is over.

The Ministry of Finance and Transport will work jointly to amend the Airports Authority Law so that the Authority can also take out loans to finance its ongoing activities. The Ministry of Finance, Transportation, and Airport Authority will agree on a method for financing additional loans that the Authority will return to state coffers once airport activity returns to normal.

Finance Minister Israel Katz said: "With the realization that the aviation industry is in a difficult situation, we have reached a number of important agreements, including the extension of wage arrangements for airport employees in order to facilitate employees' work stability during the present crisis."

Minister of Transport Miri Regev thanked the Finance Minister, stating: "…The time has come to assist airport authority employees during a crisis they have no say over…[Airport staff] was willing to accept temporary pay reductions and restructured various areas of work. Over the [coming months] development work at the airport will be sped up, allowing for a return to everyday functions once airport activity resumes."

On May 13, it was reported that a plan significantly reducing chances of infection at the airport and on flights was formulated by airport authorities.

Under the plan, only travelers would be allowed into the airport, and passengers would be required to arrive four hours prior to takeoff. At the entrance to the terminal, passengers would be required to present both their tickets and passports, and have their temperatures checked. Passenger would be required to wear protective face coverings.

Passengers found to have a fever will not be able to enter the premises. During the flight, passengers will maintain a distance of two meters, and only nuclear families will be able to congregate. Passengers will only be able to use check-in counters for transporting suitcases to their flights, and trays in which passengers place personal objects prior to security inspections will be thoroughly sterilized.

Any passenger arriving in Israel will need to undergo a coronavirus test or show results of prior examinations. Passengers who test positive for the coronavirus will be denied entry. Passengers will be allowed to board flights upon presenting a medical visa or medical approval form.

Currently, only Israeli citizens and new immigrants are allowed to enter the country, and are required to quarantine for a 14-day period upon arrival. Israel is expected to sign an agreement in the near future according to which it will join a number of countries which have successfully managed to resume flights. It is also believed that the first two countries included in this agreement will be Greece and Cyprus.

A separate report stated that preparations were underway to allow Ben Gurion to reopen on June 1. In order to ensure health safety, passengers will be required to undergo serologic testing.