El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) is to restart cargo flights later this month and passenger flights in October. The announcement comes in the wake of Eli Rozenberg buying a controlling stake in the airline in yesterday's $150 million public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
On September 21 El Al will begin cargo flights from Ben Gurion airport to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and other destinations according to the need. On October 1 El Al will begin scheduled flights to Athens and Sun D'Or will offer charter flights to destinations in Greece and Croatia. From October 12 El Al will begin flights on its core routes to New York, London and Paris as the carrier brings its Dreamliner fleet out of hibernation.
Nevertheless, most El Al employees have had their unpaid leave extended to October 31. El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin said, "Reality shows us that the world is still far away from finding a solution in the struggle against coronavirus and we are heading for another lockdown with the gates of most countries closed to Israelis."
Regarding yesterday's offering Usishkin said, "Yesterday a major part in the plan to assist El Al was completed after shares worth NIS 505 million were offered to the public. The second and critical part part of the plan is yet to be completed - raising a bond worth $250 million with a 75% guarantee from the government, which will allow to refund money to customers, pay debts to suppliers and restart the company. I believe that after completing the share offering, we will also move forward together with the State with the bond offering."
After October 1, El Al will be required by law to refund about NIS 1 billion to passengers whose flights have been postponed since March. The airline believes that part of the amount will be converted to coupons for future flights although the choice of a refund or future flight is to be made by the passenger.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 17, 2020
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