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)
As much as a flag carrier lends prestige, a one airport country may not be enough to support an airline. Look at Sweden, no airline though it’s shared with other countries to form Scandinavian. Luxair is very regional. Look at Belgium, South Africa, Greece, Norway (Sabena, South African, Olympic, Braathens SAFE)
Israel would be far better off without El Al, for the same reasons why Belgium was better off without Sabena and Hungary was better off without Malév, and hopefully one day Italy will be without the albatross Alitalia, and Thailand without Thai. El Al and these other state supported companies only exist because they are protected from better and cheaper competing airlines which do a better job of serving the consumer public. Let El Al disappear and let competition bloom.
@ Matthew — Horrible airline…
How so? Dreamliner looks nice.
The government will step in to support it. El Al is not just an airline. It is also an important way for Israel to ensure that its citizens can be repatriated in times of uncertainty
Agreed. There are also security concerns, and El Al features special security equipment on its planes. Of course it wouldn’t be a problem if Israel …………………………
I’ve only done a couple of sectors. Bangkok-Tel Aviv-Vienna…in J; it seemed pretty okay to me. I will do more, using QANTAS points, if it survives.
I believe that this is a good example of how airlines at times are more like a public service or utility. No country or airline would risk the wrath of Israel’s Muslim antagonists. by forming a firm alliance with El AL. At times, El Al is Israel’s only lifeline to the world, and it must operate as an extension of the Government. It must shield itself from terror attacks more than any other country.