Tel Aviv (Aug. 5)
The El Al works committees decided today that they would prevent all foreign airlines from entering or leaving Israel and would effectively close down Ben Gurion Airport on the Sabbath if El Al is not allowed Shabbat flights under the coalition agreement.
The El Al workers said they had not discussed their plans with the management as the Board of Directors was appointed by the government and could not be expected to defy the government order to close down.
But Board chairman Avraham Shavit was reported to be meeting Premier Menachem Begin today to protest the coalition agreement clause concerning the airline’s Sabbath operations.
El Al sources say stopping Saturday flights would cost the airline some $50 million a year in direct lost revenue from ticket sales and another $13 million annually in services presently supplied to other airlines at Ben Gurion Airport such as ground transportation and lost luggage searches.