WASHINGTON (Nov. 3)
The president of the United States Air Line Pilots’ Association called today for a total boycott of all transportation against countries like Syria which collaborate with aerial hijackers and fail to punish them. Capt. Charles H. Ruby said he envisaged a boycott by ship, rail, truck and by international aviation companies and their personnel in the cases of Syria, Algeria and other countries that collaborate with hijackers.
Capt. Ruby told a press conference that his association takes “an extremely dim view” of the sale of tickets to Damascus by an American airline when Syria has freed the hijackers of a TWA jet but continues to hold two of its passengers in jail. He said pilots were “upset” because Syria has not released Prof. Samueloff and Mr. Muallem. “Our contention is that civil aviation should not be used for political-purposes,” Capt. Ruby said.
He called for a world-wide approach to the hijacking problem. He said that in his view Russian pilots are concerned about the problem but may not be able to influence Moscow policies. He said that the U.S. and Soviet Union should impose peace because the current situation encourages hijacking. He portrayed the Mideast as different from Cuba which has promptly returned hijacked planes and their passengers.
Capt. Ruby expressed the belief that an international airline pilots’ decision to boycott Syria was in the making. He said a boycott that might produce results would last longer than 24 hours and apply to all surface transportation as well as air traffic. He said airlines favored international compulsory extradition as a measure to deal with hijackers with sanctions and boycotts applied against countries unwilling to release passengers or to extradite hijackers. Capt. Ruby demanded the extradition by Italy of an American who hijacked a TWA airliner to Rome over the weekend. He noted that the Tokyo Convention did not provide for a compulsory extradition. Capt. Ruby warned that with the event of larger jets, more passengers would be subjected to hijacking. He urged the international community to take action before a disaster claims many lives.