El Al Reeling from Coronavirus Travel Bans

YERUSHALAYIM -
Gonen Usishkin, CEO of El Al Airlines. (Flash90/File Photo)

“This is a testing time for the airline sector and El Al,” company CEO Gonen Usishkin told employees on Monday in a statement on the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

El Al has suspended flights from Tel Aviv to Beijing and Hong Kong and scaled back the frequency of flights to Bangkok. Ticket cancelations are growing while bookings decline, Globes said.

“There are difficult days ahead and it is possible that we will be required to take dramatic steps and make painful decisions,” said Gonen, though he did not elaborate, making no mention of layoffs in the email message to employees as quoted by Globes.

Usishkin said, “We are in the midst of a global event and it is too soon to predict the impact. However, it is safe to say that this is already a testing time for countries around the world including Israel, the aviation sector and El Al.”

Usishkin revealed that El Al has an agreement with the Ministry of health exempting its air crews on Bangkok flights from quarantine after “returning from their mission.”

Usishkin added, ‘I promise you that we will do all we can in order to successfully get through these days and we will do so with responsibility, transparency, without haste, and most of all worrying for the safety of our passengers and ensuring the future of El Al.”