After cancellations of hundreds of flights and reduction of its flights schedule, El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) has had to place 80% of its employees on unpaid leave. El Al has a workforce of about 6,300. Hundreds of El Al employees are in isolation because of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
El Al is waiting for a decision by the Ministry of Finance next week on support for the company, which is in the worst crisis in its history. For its part, the Ministry of Finance is waiting for a detailed streamlining plan from El Al, including more than 1,000 layoffs and cutbacks in all the airline's departments.
El Al published another warning to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange today about the effect of the virus on its business, stating, "The company believes that the Ministry of Health's announcement requiring everyone entering Israel from anywhere in the world to go into isolation for 14 days will have a substantial negative impact on El Al's business. At this stage, El Al is unable to estimate the extent of the impact."
El Al also referred to what is evident in its daily flight schedules - the cancelation of many flights and commercial adjustments. "At this stage, the company is planning to continue making operational and commercial changes and adjustments in its activity and the network of routes according to the demand for flights, taking into account preservation of air links to and from Israel for transportation of passengers and cargoes, and providing solutions to the company's customers to the best of its ability. El Al's assessment is that these changes will include cancelation of many flights in its planned flight schedule."
In the previous announcement by El Al before the more stringent quarantining rules were introduced, the company said that the damage to it in January-April could reach $160 million.
El Al's pilots have offered to take a 20% pay cut to help the airline survive the crisis. 90% of the pilots have been placed on unpaid leave. Of El Al's 650 pilots, about 600 are active fliers while the rest work in training and other jobs. Sixty pilots (including one female pilot) who recently completed training have received dismissal notices, and will not be hired by El Al.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 11, 2020
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