Widespread protests over proposed reforms mean El Al cannot staff the prime minister’s flight to Rome
© Quique Kierszenbaum
Israel’s government has reportedly looked to find another airline to fly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Rome after the country’s national air carrier, El Al, was unable to find any pilots or flight attendants to staff this week’s state visit to Italy.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev intends to open up bidding to other airlines, such as Arkia and Israir, after El Al missed a 2pm Sunday deadline to confirm Thursday’s flight, according to Israeli media outlets. The national carrier couldn’t find any pilots or cabin crew to volunteer for the mission amid massive protests in the country over the ruling coalition’s proposed judicial reforms, the Jerusalem Post said.
El Al blamed the staffing issue on a shortage of pilots who are qualified to fly a Boeing 777, the aircraft requested by the prime minister, “among other reasons.”