Arkia Israeli Airlines announced that their pilots had issued a strike, grounding the airliner's ART 72-500 and Embraer planes, which run the service to the Red Sea city of Eilat.
The ART 72-500 is a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner built by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR (Avions de Transport Regional (ATR), Toulouse, France) and Embraer planes, a product of Embraer S.A. a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate.
Arkia Israeli Airlines Ltd is Israel's second-largest airline, operating scheduled domestic and international services, as well as charter flights to destinations in Western Europe and across the Mediterranean.
The company's announcement came a day after three Arkia pilots informed the company that they were "sick." The strike came during the holiday season, which many Israelis use to travel to the southern resort town. The pilots are demanding Arika allow them to join a collective agreement previously reached by their union but was restricted to international pilots.
According to press release issued last Sunday by Arkia "Due to the surprising and illegal strike of Turbo carrier pilots, flight disruptions are expected today on inland routes (to and from Eilat)." Aliza Balaish, The chairman of the worker's committee, noted, however,that "there are no strikes or sanctions." She added, "We are in a transition period of seasons now and some pilots are sick. It happens."