El Al’s crisis has deepened after shuttering its cargo flights, effectively ceasing its operations. The last cargo flight, from Houston, Texas, landed in Ben Gurion on Friday.
The airline had planned to continue operating cargo flights after announcing the cancellation of its passenger flights on Wednesday.
But pilots didn’t respond to a company call to man its planes due to an ongoing dispute between El Al management and workers over how best to handle the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
El Al told pilots and crew on Thursday, “The company’s board of directors has decided to shut down the company’s operations and put the remaining air crew on unpaid leave from tomorrow. We have already informed them of this intention, as the CEO told the (newly elected) [pilot’s] committee in a conversation held to get to know them.”
El Al also said, “After the pilots refused to fly the company’s flights (cargo flights and a small number of passenger flights), we have been forced to adjust our work force and put 500 additional employees on unpaid leave including 100 pilots.”
El Al reported first quarter losses of $140 million. Since March, El Al had already severely cut back its flights due to the corona crisis.