The Israeli Government grounded the El Al airline's 12-' plane fleet at midnight on Thursday (26 December) after 5000 maintenance mechanics said they would not end a 'go-slow' strike.
LV PAN El Al bus outside Ben Gurion Airport
GV El Al aircraft and buses on tramac (2 shots)
LV PAN INT FROM Passengers in terminal building TO empty check-in desks.
CU PAN Air France and Al Italia conduction business (2 shots)
SV PAN DOWN FROm 'Departure' sign TO empty El Al checkout desks (3 shots)
SV PAN FROM Waiting passengers TO empty terinal building
Initials BB/1825 JW/MR/BB/1834
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Background: The Israeli Government grounded the El Al airline's 12-' plane fleet at midnight on Thursday (26 December) after 5000 maintenance mechanics said they would not end a 'go-slow' strike.
The Government-owned airline's grounding has made Israel totally dependent on foreign airlines for passenger services for the first time in its history. An El Al spokesman said 350 passengers due to leave on Friday (27 December) left on aircraft of other companies.
Airline and Transport Ministry officials said the mechanics had not responded to a request to deliver a letter by midnight saying they would return to normal work.
The mechanics are asking the company to employ more staff to ease what they describe as their difficult working conditions.
El Al flies to Europe, North America, Teheran and South Africa. Aircraft have been chartered by the airline to fly agricultural exports to Europe; but there seems to be no immediate hope of a return to scheduled services for passenger flights.