Israeli airlines continue strike, travelers stuck

Israeli airlines continue strike over 'Open Skies' deal with EU, travelers left stranded

Associated Press
Israeli airlines end strike over EU deal
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Israeli airliner El Al planes parked at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, April 21, 2013. Israel's three airlines went on strike Sunday over a proposed "Open Skies" deal with the European Union that union workers say jeopardizes their jobs and could even cause the local airline industry to collapse. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Thousands of travelers have been stranded in Israel during the second day of a strike by the nation's three airlines.

Airline workers launched the strike on Sunday to protest the government's approval of a new "open skies" aviation deal with the European Union. Proponents say the deal will lower air fares and boost tourism. Union workers say it will threaten their jobs because Israel's small fleets and security costs make it hard to compete.

A spokeswoman for El Al, Israel's national carrier, said some 15,000 people were stranded on Monday. Travelers that can't get alternative flights would get refunds. She spoke on condition of anonymity under company policy.

The Histadrut labor union plans to halt all flights out of Ben-Gurion international airport on Tuesday in solidarity with the airlines.

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