NEW YORK (May. 10)
British Overseas Airways Corporation has acceded to anti-Israel pressures and canceled two weekly Far Eastern flights from London that formerly made landings at Lydda international Airport, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. The two weekly flights were halted after Pakistan warned BOAC that it prohibited overflights by aircraft going directly from Israel to India without an intermediary stop. Israeli sources described the Pakistani move as an extension of the Arab anti-Israeli boycott.
The regular BOAC direct flights between London and Lydda were not affected and continue normally but elimination of the two additional flights reduces facilities available for air transport between Britain and Israel. Israel sources interpreted the BOAC acquiescence to the Pakistani demands as a surrender to boycott pressure. It was pointed out that the Pakistani denial of overflight rights was a violation of the Chicago convention on air rights and of the British-Pakistan air travel arrangement.
A BOAC spokesman said in London that the elimination of the flights via Israel had been forced on the line by the Pakistan decision. He said because of crew shortages and time limitations it had not been possible to meet the Pakistan demands by scheduling another stop after Lydda before overflying Pakistan. A BOAC spokesman in New York told the JTA that BOAC was overflying Israel on the Far Eastern flights but only because of technical reasons. He denied there was any critical reason for the change and attributed the present situation to the difficulty of "rostering news."