El Al suspends all flights

Jul 2, 2020

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El Al’s troubles continue, and it’s increasingly unclear if the Israeli airline is going to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier had already all but suspended service through the end of July, but it still planned to operate a few special passenger and cargo flights this month.

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However, Israeli media reported 1 July that talks between the airline’s management and its pilots unions had stalled, leading the company’s executives to recall all aeroplanes to their bases.

El Al slashed much of its workforce and took other drastic measures to stay afloat amid the coronavirus demand slump, but the airline’s financial situation remains precarious.

Related: These airlines have stopped offering first class due to the pandemic.

“The company cannot continue to haemorrhage”, Avi Edri, chairperson of the transport workers union at the General Federation of Labor in Israel told Globes. “The company has an obligation to minimize damage to itself, and as part of that, to its employees. So on the one hand it’s tough to see activity being reduced, but on the other, if the airline is losing money, it’s better to halt activity and wait for better times”.

Read more: How far can airborne COVID germs really spread on a plane?

El Al has been in talks with the Israeli government for a bailout, but it still needs its employees and unions to agree to whatever deal is ultimately reached.

The news comes just one day after AeroMexico asked for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. courtroom. Aeromexico is the third Delta Air Lines partner to restructure, following Virgin Australia and LATAM.

Related: More than half of global airlines could ‘die’ without aid

Additional reporting by Edward Russell.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy.

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