EL AL Israel Airlines has suspended all operations until further notice. All aircraft have been ordered back to Israel.
EL AL Suspends Operations
Yesterday, EL AL announced it lost $140 million during the first quarter of 2020. Pilots are angry that a comprehensive labor agreement has not been reached, but EL AL contends the unknown and fluid situation has made any sort of agreement impossible. Only 100 pilots have remained on duty during the pandemic, with the rest (550) on unpaid leave.
A union spokesperson told GLOBES:
“The company is not in a good position. The company cannot continue to hemorrhage, and if it came to the conclusion that it was preferable for it to cease flying, that means that it is losing on the flights that it is operating. The company has an obligation to minimize damage to itself, and as part of that, to its employees. So on the one hand it’s tough to see activity being reduced, but on the other, if the airline is losing money, it’s better to halt activity and wait for better times.”
With all planes now recalled, it appears that cargo operations will not continue.
In early March, I noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a committee to explore ways to help EL AL and told workers:
“I appreciate the work you do, and we will help you and care for EL AL.”
Thus far, however, EL AL and the government, in consultation with EL AL employees, have not been able to reach an agreement on aid. EL AL’s future now hangs on a thread.
> Read More: As EL AL Warns Of Collapse, Israel Promises Support
EL AL has warned of a collapse since early March. The suspension of all flying, even conceivably lucrative cargo routes, may be a bluff to secure government aid more expeditiously. Personally, I predict EL AL will find a way to survive. But with labor tensions inflamed, any long-term solution absent a cash infusion by Israeli taxpayers will be difficult to reach.
(H/T: Rene’s Points // image: Boeing)