Unfortunately, I was wrong in my November, 2008
post. I am shocked that Israel was, in fact, downgraded to a category 2 country. And there is no category 3 – we are as bad as it can get. Here is the FAA’s press release. And some discussion in the blogosphere.
I am further shocked this has been getting almost no press in Israel (small article in Sunday’s Calcalist on page 6 by Yasmin Gil – compared to a page 4-5 spread about a cleaning company that is going bust!). The Wall Street Journal did think it was important, though. No mention in Jerusalem Post.
And, I am further shocked that the FAA gave Israel enough warning to avoid this and did not succeed. I guess Transportation minister Shaul Mofaz is convinced that his re-election is much more important to Israel than the future of Israel aviation and tourism, not to mention our safety.
In Israel, we do have a tendency to underestimate threats to our safety (crazy drivers, Iranian dictators, Missile shooting fanatics and Amira Hess), and this one is quite serious. Israel is now a full fledged member of this club:
Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Nauru, Philippines, Serbia and Ukraine.
What does it mean on a practical level? It means that Israeli carriers cannot expand service to the US. Its unclear what this does to codeshares. Of course, it means much more – it means that the FAA feels that the day-to-day oversight by the Israel government regulatory agencies are not enough to monitor safety.
What this is not:
- Not political like the annual UN condemnation of Zionism
- Not some silly bureaucratic issue – like ISO 9000
- Not a minor issue blown up by the press
- Not a statement about Israel’s airline security, still considered best in the world
- Not a condemnation of any specific airline
- Not a reason to skip your next meeting in Palo Alto or a romantic getaway in Southern California
But it is a very serious error made by the transportation ministry (among others), which citizens of Israel should know about. And, by the way, Mofaz is also in charge of Israel Road safety. Fire him!!!
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