LONDON (Feb. 24)
The leader of the House of Commons pledged today that the Government “Will give full support to International arrangements designed to outlaw terrorism and violence on the world’s airways.” But Opposition members of the House took exception to a further statement by Fred Peart that there have been no new developments in the air transport crisis that followed the fatal crash of a Swiss air Jet. Reginald Maudling, a deputy leader of the Conservative Party, said he was not satisfied with yesterday’s statement on the matter by Roy Mason, President of the Board of Trade. He asked Mr. Peart, “how can you say there has been no change when ground crews have blacked out Arab airline flights at Heathrow (London Airport) and there is a threat of a world-wide pilots’ strike?” Mr. Maudling referred to a decision by BOAC ground-crews at Heathrow to stop servicing Arab and Israeli aircraft using the field because of “inadequate security” and to a statement by a spokesman for the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations that the present situation could lead to a general strike.
London Airport ground crews voted a total work stoppage today against all Arab airlines using the field and a partial work stoppage against El Al. Israel’s national airline. Israel reacted to the work stoppage by lodging an appeal through the International Transport Workers Union for the London ground crews to distinguish between countries which aid and shelter terrorists and countries whose nationals and planes are the intended or actual victims. El Al was reportedly planning to hire independent technicians.
ISRAEL’S CHARGE THAT AIRLINES BOWING TO INTIMIDATION IS DISPUTED BY PILOTS’ GROUP
The British Airline Pilots Association retorted sharply to Israeli charges that airlines were giving in to Arab blackmail by refusing to carry cargo and mail to Israel. Gordon Hurley, a spokesman for the British Pilots Association, disputed the contention of Israeli Ambassador Aharon Remez that the cargo and mail ban constituted “capitulation to intimidation.” Meanwhile, representatives of 53 international airlines using Heathrow met for the second time in two days to discuss measures to combat aerial sabotage. No decisions were reported to have come out of the two hour meeting.
In a related development, the Guild of Pilots and Navigators here demanded that the Government bring the issue of air safety before the United Nations. (In Brussels today the Belgian Airline Pilots Association demanded that their government take energetic action to prevent air piracy and terrorism.) A British European Airways (BEA) flight from London to Athens was cancelled today when passengers refused to board after learning that the plane would continue to Tel Aviv. They were transferred to another flight. The BEA captain said later that it would have been foolish to take any risks, especially as there were seven children among the passengers.