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Air Traffic Experts Weigh Effectiveness of Flight Boycott on Algeria

August 15, 1968
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Air traffic experts here today were weighing the possible effectiveness of the boycott of flights to and from Algeria called by the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations yesterday after its efforts to negotiate Algeria’s release of an hijacked El Al Israel Airliner and its 12 Israeli passengers and crew members apparently failed. International cooperation on the part of the pilots seemed assured. The Italian Civilian Pilots Association in Rome requested its members to suspend any air communications to or from Algeria in observance of the boycott call. The federation represents 30,000 airline pilots in 50 countries, Alitalia. Italy’s national airline, operates two daily flights to Algeria. French pilots, including those employed by Air Algerie, the Algerian national airline, announced that they will observe the boycott. The French action will become effective at noon Monday, Aug. 19. The decision was taken to “put an end to acts of piracy in international air transportation,” a spokesman for the French Pilots Syndicate said. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the boycott would paralyze 95 percent of Algeria’s air traffic. Air France, the leading international air carrier serving Algiers, said that neither its management nor the French Government would interfere with the pilots’ decision. Air France operates 32 flights a week between French and Algerian cities, all of which will be cancelled.

A spokesman for the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations said today that if Algeria persisted in its refusal to release the $6 million Israel-owned Boeing jet and the Israelis detained with it, all international airlines would be asked to refuse to carry Algerian citizens.

Experts in London believe that the strike would be fully effective despite the fact that between 50 and 60 percent of Algeria’s air traffic is handled by Air Algerie. They pointed out that the type of passenger who contributes most to Algeria’s economy – tourists, businessmen and foreign investors – are not likely to travel except by the major international airlines for reasons of safety and comfort. They said however that Air Morocco was likely to aid Algeria and that such air lines as the Arab Middle East Airline, Air India, Pakistan Airways, Soviet Aeroflot, Polish Airways and the Czech Airlines, among others in the Arab world and Eastern Europe, were not expected to adhere to the boycott.

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