Israel's flag-carrier airline. Played a key role in airlifting Jews from Ethiopia and Yemen. Privatized in 2003
"We need to allow good Jews that want to save El Al to enter the picture and to flow money and quickly."
Forget about refinancing or returning the aircraft. Plans to open new routes to Tokyo or Chicago can be shelved. But cut almost a third of the company’s personnel? Well, that is like dropping a nuclear bomb on the unions.
According to a proposal received by El Al management earlier this month, the government is willing to offer a $250 million loan to the flag carrier.
"I don't think there is anyone who thinks that the state should be the owner of an airline, so the idea of nationalization is not on the agenda," Finance Ministry economist Eli Morgenstern said.
Now is a pivotal time for the future of Israel’s national airline.
"We will not be able to renew operations without reaching an agreement for the arrival of the loan," Gonen Usishkin wrote in a letter distributed to employees.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz also announced new measures to ease the financial crisis.
This is the latest in a series of financial woes experienced by El Al in recent months; IAA's workers union threatened to shut down Israel's airports next week.
Coronavirus killed what was left of the national carrier’s struggling business. El Al needs both a bailout and management reforms; the future of Israel’s aviation industry hangs in the balance.
The meeting was called to discuss the return of more pilots to work full time, after El Al extended the unpaid leave of thousands of employees until June 30.