Israel's president flies Air Canada over oxygen tank
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird welcomes the president of Israel Shimon Peres to Ottawa on Sunday, May 6, 2012. (Fred Chartrand / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:22PM EDT
JERUSALEM - Israel's national airline has apologized to President Shimon Peres after attempting to charge him nearly $5,000 to bring an oxygen tank on an official trip to Canada.
Israeli media reported last week that Peres opted to fly with Air Canada because El Al, for the first time, wanted to charge the 88-year-old president for the oxygen tank.
According to protocol, an oxygen tank and other medical equipment is mandatory whenever an Israeli president or prime minister flies abroad.
El Al spokeswoman Anat Friedman said Sunday that the airline sent Peres an apology. But it arrived too late -- Peres had already booked his trip with Air Canada.
Israeli officials confirmed the account and said Peres wanted to put the matter behind him.
Peres is due to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa Monday
The two men will also join Gov.Gen. David Johnston Monday night for a state dinner.
With files from The Canadian Press