The Israel Airports Authority reported today that traffic at Ben Gurion Airport had fallen by 98%, and that the resulting loss of revenue amounted to NIS 1.5 billion. The only remaining operations at Ben Gurion Airport was by three international airlines: United Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Aeroflot.
In addition to these three airlines, rescue flights are taking place, mainly by Israir, which conducted flights this week to various destinations in Europe. Israir is the only airline operating flights to Eilat - three daily flights. Since the crisis began in mid-February, 7,860 flights have been canceled (including the bankruptcy of Turkish airline AtlasGlobal), the number of passengers has declined by 1.6 million, and occupancy on planes has fallen by 80% to 10%.
The Israel Airports Authority stated, "The Israel Airports Authority's revenue from franchise holders and aviation services have fallen to almost zero. The direct loss of revenue is over NIS 500 million from franchise holders' activity, and the Israel Airports Authority has lost NIS 1.5 billion in indirect revenue. Management and the workers' representatives have therefore been left with no choice but to take dramatic decisions in operating the airports and reducing personnel."
Unpaid leave and across-the-board salary cuts
Israel Airports Authority director general Yaakov Ganot, together with the workers' representatives, has ordered a series of additional measures "in order to preserve the workers' health and maintain the Airports Authority's facilities and its ability to operate the airports."
From April 1, 2020 until June 30, 2020, "for the purpose of maintaining the ability to recover after the crisis and keep the flight routes open and the option for landing of cargo planes at Ben Gurion Airport, a streamlining plan is going into effect."
This plan includes putting 600 more employees on unpaid leave, in addition to the 2,000 employees already on unpaid leave, most of them tenured employees.
The measures include across-the-board salary cuts for employees current classified as essential for the system who return to work on April 19 of 10-15%. Employees will also extend their vacation until April 30, 2020 at the worker's expense.
A cut in executives' salary is also promised, but its extent was not specified (a 10% cut was spoken of in the earlier measures). Employees scheduled to retire will be put on early retirement, and shift workers will be cut down to nine shifts a month.
Working hours at Ramon Airport near Eilat will be reduced. At this stage, there are only a few daily flights to Ramon Airport. The airports in Rosh Pina, Haifa, and Herzliya will also cut down their activity as a result of the closing of the skies to general aviation (drills, training, etc.), and all infrastructure projects begun in all of the Israel Airports Authority's facilities will be halted.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 30, 2020
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