October 29, 2018 / 8:29 AM / in 21 days

Israel's El Al strikes deal with pilots over new regulations

JERUSALEM, Oct 29 (Reuters) - El Al Israel Airlines said on Monday it reached a six-year agreement with its pilots that will allow safer and more efficient operations in line with new Israeli regulations.

The rules, which took effect on Monday, conform to U.S. policies designed to prevent pilot fatigue, including minimum rest periods between flights, El Al said.

The agreement took more than a year to negotiate and ended a long-running labour dispute that at times led to flight delays and cancellations.

“Reality obliges us all to change the organizational culture and the way we conduct ourselves in order to ensure El Al’s future,” CEO Gonen Usishkin said in a letter to employees.

Israel’s flag carrier said the deal “establishes mechanisms meant to allow more efficient commercial operation ... and growth in the company’s activities.”

It would also lead to an “improvement of the pilots’ lifestyle,” El Al said in a statement.

The company said it agreed on more efficient staffing and on arranging rest periods. The workers union said El Al’s roughly 600 pilots would also receive a salary increase and other benefits.

El Al has faced stiff competition, particularly from lower-cost airlines after Israel signed an “open skies” agreement with Europe. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, editing by Louise Heavens)

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