James Richardson, which operates the main duty free stores at Ben Gurion airport, is laying off 20% of its staff as the Covid-19 crisis continues to hit the aviation sector hard. The stores, which sell alcohol, tobacco and cosmetics, have 1,000 employees including shift workers and temporary contract employees, and about 200 will be let go.
Since mid-March, when Israel sealed off its borders, air traffic have virtually dried up and the stores have been closed most of the time. With the Israeli government extending its ban on entry of non-Israeli passport holders to June 15 and requiring Israelis returning from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days, the duty free stores seem unlikely to resume operations in the near future.
James Richardson has duty free stores in Terminals 1 and 3 at Ben Gurion Airport, and the Israel Airports Authority has already announced that Terminal 1 will not be reopened in the foreseeable future. The company also has stores that are currently closed at the Taba border crossing with Egypt and at the Jordan River crossing to Jordan. James Richardson also sales duty free products on Arkia and Israir flights, which are currently grounded.
James Richardson said, "The influence of the coronavirus on tourism is understood by everybody and this is a sad day for the entire sector."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 21, 2020
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