05/06/2012 07:54 EDT | Updated 07/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Shimon Peres Flies Air Canada: Israeli President Switches Airlines After El Al Tries To Charge Him For Oxygen Tank


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

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