El Al cancels several flights over pilots’ work dispute

(JTA) – The Israeli national airline El Al cancelled several international flights including some to the United States after pilots called in sick.

Over the weekend, flights to Bangkok, Newark, New York and Beijing were delayed, cancelled or reassigned to other carriers. Several flights were cancelled last week as well.

Pilots called in sick and dozens of other pilots refused to take their places.

The pilots reportedly have increased their unofficial strike against El Al in order to press it to give in to their demands, which reportedly include a raise in salary and improved labour conditions.

In the coming days some 6,000 airline workers will vote in a secret ballot whether to strike over work conditions, the Times of Israel reported.

El Al issued an apology to its passengers on Saturday, blaming the pilots work slowdown.

“We condemn this behaviour, which harms passengers and other El Al employees – flight attendants, ground crew, and maintenance workers who have to bear the consequences of the wild actions of the pilots, headed by Nir Tzuk. We apologize to passengers for the inconvenience and we are determined to return the airline’s operations to normal,” the statement said.

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