20,000 tourists from Northern Europe are prevented from visiting Israel because there are not enough flights. Hotel rooms are available for these people who wish to spend their cash and do business here. Estimated loss to the economy - $30 million per year. I haven't seen it on the web or print media but the radio this morning carried a story that 6,000 Americans could not come to Israel for Pesach due to a lack of flights. Estimated loss to the economy - $50 million.
The Civil Aviation Authority and Transportation Ministry are not allowing other airlines additional flights into Ben Gurion
"as a protective measure for the local airlines which it said were not strong enough to handle the increase in competition"Now I'm a big believer in supporting El Al but if it is not providing a service, what exactly is being competed with here? If 20,000 people want to come and El Al and Austrian between them have a capacity of 40,000 that's competition. If however, 20,000 people want to come - and El Al does not have the capacity / ability / desire to bring any of them - why on earth not let someone else do so? It's not protection from competition (G-d forbid El Al should get a kick up the arse to cut costs); Austrian Airlines, if granted permission to put on extra flights will simply be providing a service to customers who can't get here otherwise - and if demand drops - the CAA can simply cut the number of flights again.
Our Tourism Industry has suffered so much over the past 4 1/2 years - why should our own authorities not give it a little assistance for once?
File under "stupid, stupid, stupid"