El Al Grounds Veteran Pilots


elalThe Israel Civil Aviation Authority has instructed Israeli airlines to ground dozens of pilots aged between 65 and 67.

The Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), subordinate to the Ministry of Transport, has endorsed the instruction of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and ordered El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL), Arkia Airlines Ltd., Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., and CAL Cargo Airlines to ground dozens of pilots over 65 active until the end of last week.

The Lod District Court today issued its ruling on the petition filed by the Israel Pilots Union against ICAA on the lowering of the retirement age for pilots. The Court ruled that pilots over 65 could continue flying until age 67, subject to general physical and professional fitness tests conducted by ICAA. “ICAA violated the law by determining in advance that no exemptions (permits to continue flying between age 65 and age 67, S.P.) would be issued. Therefore, as long as the law is in force and grants discretion to ICAA, the Authority must consider each request on its merits, and decide according to the appropriate criteria. The ICAA director is not entitled to disavow the authority granted him under the law,” Judge Ester Shtemer wrote in her opinion. On the other hand, the judge rejected the Pilot Union’s request to force ICAA to ask the ICAO to make an exception in its case.

El Al Pilots committee chairman Nir Tzuk today accused El Al CEO David Maimon, saying that he had “chosen to abandon the most experienced pilots because of the illegitimate economic profit to be derived from this miserable decision.” He said that 23 El Al pilots had been grounded since last Thursday, after the regulation went into effect. “They were grounded according to a superfluous decision of the ICAA, a decision that deprives Israeli pilots of their basic rights to freedom of occupation granted to every citizen under Israeli law,” he said.

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{Matzav.com Israel}