The crisis at El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) has deepened after the flag carrier put its entire air crew including 100 pilots on unpaid leave. The airline had already put more than 90% of its staff on unpaid leave back in March at the start of the Covid-19 crisis. In the past few days, El Al has cancelled all its cargo flights and its few remaining passenger flights, claiming that the pilots were refusing to fly.
From now on, El Al itself will officially not be flying. Cargo flights will be undertaken using leased aircraft and passenger flights will not operate.
An announcement sent to El Al's pilots and cabin crew said, "The company's board of directors has decided to shut down the company's operations and put the remaining air crew on unpaid leave from tomorrow. We have already informed them of this intention, as the CEO told the (newly elected) committee in a conversation held to get to know them."
The employees committee is checking the legality of El Al's latest step.
Earlier yesterday El Al's Pilots Committee met with Minister of Transport Miri Regev and then issued a statement. "The minister stressed to us that the public sees El Al as a national company and the government won't let the company collapse. The minister understands the responsibility thrust upon us on each and every flight and she is full of appreciation for the pilots."
The aim of the meeting as presented by the minister was to try and bring the parties closer together and bridge between those involved in the crisis at El Al (the owners, management and employees). We repeated and stressed to the minister that there is no solution to the crisis other than an injection of capital into the company from an external investor with means."
El Al said, "After the pilots refused to fly the company's flights (cargo flights and a small number of passenger flights), we have been forced to adjust our work force and put 500 additional employees on unpaid leave including 100 pilots."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 3, 2020
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