An El Al airliner..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
El Al’s third quarter profits fell from $57.9 million last year to $10.1m. this year following the war with Hamas in Gaza, which spanned 50 of the 92 days in the quarter.
“The third quarter results reflect the effect of Protective Edge,” said El Al Israel Airlines CEO David Maimon, using the IDF’s name for the summer operation.
During the war, a rocket that landed near Ben-Gurion Airport led to a 36-hour flight ban from the US Federal Aviation Authority, as well as warnings from Europe’s aviation regulator. El Al continued to fly, even adding extra flights to help Israelis stranded abroad return home, though it was accused of price gouging during the sensitive period.
Though Israel’s economy is expected to bounce back from the war, the negative impact is clear. Third quarter economic growth was negative for the first time in five years, and lopped 0.5 percentage points off the forecasted growth for the year.
Central Bureau of Statistics data released on Monday shows that from July through October, hotel stays were down 30 percent in comparison to the previous year, falling from 3.3 million night stays to 2.3 million.
On Tuesday, the OECD projected that Israel’s growth would return to 3% in 2015.
“The rebound in domestic demand that is expected to follow the end of the Gaza conflict, the projected strengthening of the external environment and the recent weakening of the exchange rate will sustain activity,” its economic forecast summary for Israel said.