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French Pilots Union, Federation Differ over Apology to Algerian Government

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Differences appear to have arisen between the French Pilots’ Union and the International Federation of Airline Pilots Association to which it belongs over the Union’s apology to the Algerian Government in connection with efforts to free the hijacked El Al airliner held by Algeria since July 23. The Federation today published an official announcement disavowing the apology. The French Union said yesterday that it had acknowledged to the Algerian authorities that it had “misunderstood” Algeria’s stand on the plane issue.

A spokesman for the French Pilots’ Union told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had been mistaken when he had accused Algeria of stalling on the release of the plane. He said that the union has decided to wait until Algeria completes its investigation of the hijacking. He denied that the French Government exerted any pressure on Air France pilots in connection with the Federation’s call to boycott Algeria, a move that was later cancelled. He was unable to say what his union would do should the Pilots’ Federation renew its boycott call.

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