The carrier is struggling to offset the loss of revenue due to the coronavirus lockdown, which has seen passenger routes slashed.
El Al airlines’s revenue in the second quarter of 2020 was down 74% from the previous year’s figures, Yahoo Finance has reported. The company filed a loss of $105 million from April to June, against a $100,000 profit in the same period of 2019.On Monday, Israel’s flagship airline will fly the first direct commercial passenger route to the UAE, with an Israeli delegation on lead by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, US Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and other US officials will join the trip.
However, that prestigious flight will be carried out under the shadow of the coronavirus lockdown, which has seen the vast majority of El Al’s passenger routes slashed. The company has been unable to offset the loss of its passenger revenue through cargo flights and cutbacks, despite placing the majority of its workforce on unpaid leave.The airline has also taken measures such as cancelling leases on planes, cutting salaries, selling assets and spare parts and converting passenger aircraft to cargo flights.”The company’s activity is dependent on the ability of countries to overcome the virus, restoring customer confidence and security in flying and state assistance. We all hope that will happen quickly,” said CEO Gonen Usishkin.The carrier is preparing for a $150 million share offering according to Yahoo, as part of bailout deal which would hand the company $250 million in government backed loans. The state has pledged to buy the shares if no one else does.Two bids have already been made to purchase the company, one by real estate mogul Meir Gurvitz who has filed an application to the Companies Authority for a permit that would allow him to purchase between 25% and 40% of the airline’s shares, and another by Eli Rozenberg, the son of Kenny (Naftali) Rozenberg, who has been granted a permit by Israel’s Government Companies Authority to move forward with his bid to purchase 44.9% of shares for $75 million