EL AL owes $17.3 million in airport fees
EL AL hasn’t operated a scheduled passenger flight in several weeks, and as of now these flights are banned until June 20, 2020. As is the case with so many airlines, EL AL has started operating many cargo-only flights. While not as lucrative as their normal passenger operations, they at least help the airline cover some bills during these tough times.
However, EL AL has hit a major roadblock as of today, as reported by The Jerusalem Post. The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) has suspended the operation of all EL AL cargo flights due to the company’s debts to the airport. EL AL’s debts to the IAA amount to roughly 17.3 million USD… that’s a lot of fees!
EL AL has called an emergency executive meeting for this evening, also attended by Israel’s Transportation Minister. The topic will be trying to finalize aid for the airline.
EL AL is still seeking government aid
EL AL is currently seeking government guarantees on a $400 million bank loan, as the airline has no other way to make ends meet. However, this has caused quite some conflict with labor groups, as finalizing this is contingent upon getting labor concessions.
EL AL plans to lay off about 2,000 of the 6,500 employees working for the airline, and that’s something most employee groups aren’t in favor of. Furthermore, since the pilots would be making among the biggest concessions, they’re asking for a 25% stake in the airline.
For the past several weeks EL AL has exclusively been operating cargo and repatriation flights, and now the IAA has banned all cargo flights. EL AL not being able to operate cargo flights will put the airline in an even worse financial situation, so something has to give sooner rather than later (and I suspect it will, given the importance of cargo flowing into and out of the country).
(Tip of the hat to @charlie_laifer)