170 Israelis stranded in Zanzibar

Arkia discovers technical issues with plane, passengers sleep on airport benches while waiting for flight home. Arkia: We'll provide hotels.

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Reut Hadar,

Arkia airplane
Arkia airplane
Moshe Shai, Flash 90

170 Israelis have been stranded for over 60 hours in Zanziber, due to a technical issue in the Arkia plane which was to bring them to Israel.

The passengers were scheduled to fly to Israel on Wednesday, on Arkia Israeli Airlines' Flight AIZ628. However, the flight was delayed due to several technical failures discovered in the plane.

All 170 passengers are currently waiting at the airport, sleeping on the airport's benches.

Meirav Alon, whose sister Efrat is stranded in Zanzibar, told Channel 2 that there is a feeling of helplessness, and that the nightmare will not end.

"The company could have switched planes. There have been three flights from Israel to Zanzibar since these issues were discovered," she said. "Instead, the company prefers to abuse its passengers."

Arkia responded, "Prior to the plane's scheduled return to Israel, we discovered an issue which required a replacement part. Expert Israeli mechanics were immediately flown to the scene, and solved the problem so that the plane would be able to leave for Israel early the next morning. Prior to takeoff, however, we discovered another failure which required us to send a technical part from Israel."

"Arkia has decided to send a special plane this afternoon to bring the passengers home. We will bring them to Israel at approximately midnight. Those passengers who observe Shabbat (Sabbath) will return to Israel immediately after Shabbat ends on Saturday night.

"Arkia apologizes for the heartache, but we wil not compromise on flight safety. We will ensure each passenger is hosted comfortably in a hotel. These issues are not complicated, but the sequence of events caused additional delays.

"Arkia staff are working constantly to ensure the passengers are informed of every development."








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