No-show pilot protest disrupts El Al flights

Four planes grounded, three flights delayed by labour action

TEL AVIV (Reuters) — El Al Israel Airlines said its flight schedule had been disrupted on Friday after pilots did not show up for work as part of a labour protest, grounding four planes in Tel Aviv overnight.

Three other outgoing flights, one of them to New York, were postponed by the pilot no-show, an El Al official said, adding that as a result some return flights may lag. Dozens of other flights were on schedule, the official said.

The disruption appeared likely to be contained by the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, between Friday evening and Saturday evening, when Israel's flag carrier does not operate. The El Al official said negotiations were under way with the pilots to prevent further problems.

Nir Tzuk, chairman of the El Al Pilots Council, said the protest was a response to the overbooking of air crews.

"We will not turn up to fly tired, and the situation right now is one of a very, very great overload," he told Israel's Army Radio in an interview.

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