Transportation Ministry presents plan to reopen Israeli skies
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Health Ministry not on board

Transportation Ministry presents plan to reopen Israeli skies

Under proposal, incoming travelers from countries with low morbidity will only have to spend 5 days in quarantine, those from harder hit countries will take tests before flying

An El Al crew arrives at Ben Gurion airport on June 12, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
An El Al crew arrives at Ben Gurion airport on June 12, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Transportation Ministry on Sunday submitted to the Health Ministry a potential plan to reopen Israel’s skies to air traffic.

According to Hebrew media reports, under the plan, travelers from so-called “green countries” with low morbidity will be allowed into Israel with only an abbreviated five-day quarantine (compared to the current 14) while arrivals from “red countries,” those with higher morbidity, will have to undergo a coronavirus test prior to stepping onto a plane.

The plan must first be approved by the Health Ministry and then by the coronavirus cabinet.

According to Channel 13 news, the Health Ministry emphasized that there is currently no existing plan approved for “opening the skies.”

An airplane drives along the runway at Ben Gurion International Airport, on May 8, 2018. (Flash90)

Air travel to and from Israel has dropped off sharply since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with very few daily flights. Foreign citizens are still barred from visiting except in very limited cases.

In early July, national airline El Al stopped flying altogether, after labor talks blew up between the pilots committee and management. Several days later, the CEO of Ben Gurion International Airport warned that the country was “days away from reaching the point of no return” for its aviation industry.

Several days later, the struggling airline accepted a $400 million bailout from the government, making it increasingly likely that it could be nationalized in the near future.

In late June, Israel’s rising coronavirus rate prompted the European Union to add it to a list of countries whose citizens are not allowed into the bloc due to public health concerns.

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