TEL AVIV (Jul. 21)
El Al was today the only airline flying in and out of Israel. The 17 other international airlines serving Ben Gurion Airport cancelled all their flights yesterday after Turkish troops invaded Cyprus. However, after a meeting yesterday between Transportation Minister Gad Yaacobi and representatives of El Al’s Captains Association it was decided that the Israel Airline would resume flights and not only take El Al passengers but the hundreds stranded by the cancellations of the other airlines.
Three El Al flights took off last night for Rome. London and Johannesburg, and El Al’s regular schedule was back in operation today. The flights have been rerouted a safe distance south of Cyprus. Planes to the Middle East have been unable to use the radio beam contact at Nicosia since the coup last Monday but El Al can maintain radio contact with Ben Gurion Airport until it picks up the beam from Rome.
Last night there was great commotion at Ben Gurion airport as stranded passenger tried to get seats on El.Al. Ticket offices were kept open through the night and all El Al planes left fully loaded. Meanwhile efforts are being made to bring back some 150 Israeli tourists and families of Israelis working in Cyprus from the beleaguered Island. Late reports from Cyprus said that British forces are concentrating on trying to get all foreigners safely off the Island.