Portuguese authorities seize Israeli plane in legal dispute

Portuguese authorities have acted against an Israeli airline tangled in a legal dispute with EuroAtlantic Airways.  

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

An Israir Airlines plane was detained by Lisbon authorities on Monday night following a claim by EuroAtlantic Airways that the Israeli company owes “tens of millions of euros.”

IDF Radio reports that the Israeli airline’s flight schedule was disturbed by the unfortunate incident.

Israir CEO Uri Sirkis, who set out for Lisbon Tuesday morning, said they were surprised by the incident. He told Ynet that the story started some eight years ago, when Israir leased a plane from the European company for flights to the US. A month later, Israir returned the plane.

“The company sued Israir at court and the suit was rejected. EuroAtlantic did not give up and appealed to the Supreme Court in Portugal that decided last December that Israir needed to compensate Euro Atlantic – a decision we appealed,” he told Ynet. “The legal proceedings are still ongoing so we were very surprised when EuroAtlantic decided to make such an extreme and violent move and seize the plane.”

Sirkis said that Israir contacted the Portuguese tourism ministry, as well as involving the Israeli foreign ministry and the Portuguese embassy. He stressed that the Portuguese move harmed the passengers first and foremost, and he stated his hope to resolve the incident as soon as possible.

Israir insists that it had “allocated the said sum in its books in 2014 and even made preparations concerning cash flow,” Ynet reports. “It should be made clear that the reason the plane was detained was not a financial operational debt to the Airport Authority in Lisbon or its providers,” according to an Israir statement.