Israel (2): stop to ITA planes until Saturday
Repatriations carried out by Neos and Italian Air Force
The State carrier ITA Airways does not carry out air bridges for the repatriation of Italian citizens stranded in Israel. However, these are guaranteed by the private Italian airline Neos. A paradoxical situation: for security reasons ITA, as done by 50 other airlines around the world, has suspended flights to and from the "David Ben Gurion" international airport in Tel Aviv.
"They asked us for the possibility of doing the so-called 'rescue flights'. We gave our availability, but as we don't own aircraft we have to ask for authorization from the insurance companies and the companies that lease the planes to us. Both of us they denied. If the situation were to degenerate, we have given our availability to make shuttles perhaps from Cyprus or other locations", explained the general director of ITA, Andrea Benassi, during the "Travel Experience" tourism fair in Rimini yesterday.
The stop to ITA's flights has been decided until Saturday, but the company reserves the right to extend the suspension. Many had flights booked with the Italian airline, which however cancelled the routes on Tuesday 10 October. "The closures of the connections have eliminated the possibility of re-routing that the tourist operators were counting on", explained sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quoted by the Italian newspaper "Il Fatto Quotidiano".
But why does a private Italian company fly and not ITA, which is state-owned? The CEO of Neos Italia (Alpitour Group), Carlo Stradiotti, explains it: "The insurance companies and the leasing company that supplies the planes gave us the green light. The only requirement was to operate during daylight hours". The crew "accepted with great professionalism". Meanwhile, until yesterday, around 900 people from Israel have landed in Italy.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency