Category Archives: El Al Israel Airlines

El Al to be nationalized until a new investor can be found

El Al Israel Airlines is being rescued by the Israeli government. The flag carrier will be nationalized.

The state will guarantee a $250 million load and will purchase stocks worth $150 million according to the The Jerusalem Post.

El Al is now in the process of seeking agreements with its major unions.

Read the full article.

El Al aircraft photo gallery:

El Al aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=vjdLMx&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

EL Al announces first quarter results and continued COVID-19 measures

El Al Israel Airlines has made this announcement following its grounding of its entire fleet:

Key Results for the First Quarter of 2020

  • The Company’s revenues decreased by about 25% to approx. USD $321 million, compared to revenues of approx. USD 429 million in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The Company recorded a net loss of approx. USD $140 million, compared to a loss of USD $55 million in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Cash balances and short-term deposits in the Company’s account as of March 31, 2020, amounted to approx. USD 131 million.

In the first quarter of 2020, the effects of the coronavirus crisis have taken hold. The pandemic has seriously disrupted all economic sectors worldwide, with the tourism and aviation industries being most adversely affected by the pandemic.

The crisis has led to a dramatic reduction in demand for passenger flights and an unprecedented numbers of flight cancellations, and therefore, the Company cancelled many flights already in February 2020, and finally announced a complete halt of passenger flights as of mid-March 2020, due to Government guidance addressing these circumstances and the fear of contraction of the virus.

Following the crisis and the slowdown in demand, a sharp decrease of approx. 23% in the fuel price was also recorded.

All of these factors have resulted in a sharp impact on the Company’s operations and a significant decrease in its revenues. Notwithstanding that the Company completed 2019 with considerable cash balances of approx. USD 264 million, the crisis caused a severe liquidity stress requiring solution in the form of immediate assistance through government support.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, the Company has taken a series of streamlining measures and steps designed to improve its cash flow:

  • The Company’s management announced an extension to the period during which it will not operate flights, until July 31, 2020, as at the date hereof.
  • The Company made a significant cut in its workforce, and about 5,800 company employees were sent to unpaid leave.
  • Compensation of executives and Board members was reduced by 20% as of March 1, 2020.
  • Lease payments for some of the leased aircraft were deferred by mutual agreement; lease agreements for two 737-800 aircraft expected to enter service in 2020 were cancelled, and three wet-leased aircraft were returned.
  • A memorandum of understanding was entered into with a foreign company for the sale and leaseback of three Boeing 737-800 aircraft for approx. USD 76 million.
  • The Company’s holdings in Maman were sold for approx. USD 15.4 million.
  • An amount of NIS 105 million was released from the surplus of central compensation funds in agreement with the G and the Israeli General Federation of Labor (“Histadrut”).
  • In the first quarter of 2020, the Company sold 4 engines and recognized a capital gain of approx. USD 10 million. In June 2020, five other engines were sold and a capital gain of approx. USD 1.5 million was recorded.
  • Projects involving investments were suspended or cancelled (inter alia, investments in the renewal of the 777 aircraft fleet as well as digital and computer-related investments).
  • The Company’s cargo operations were expanded by adjusting passenger aircraft to carry essential cargo.

The Company is in the process of establishing a plan with the Ministry of Finance to obtain government assistance. As of the date hereof, two plans have been proposed, aiming to provide the Company with financing to help it address the coronavirus crisis. The first plan being examined consists of obtaining a USD 400 million loan, mostly backed by state guarantee, and carrying out an offering of shares in the amount of USD 150 million . The second plan consists of obtaining a USD 250 million loan, mostly backed by state guarantee, and carrying out an offering of shares in the amount of USD 150 million, with the State undertaking to purchase all shares not purchased by the investors as part of the offering.

Since there is uncertainty as to the completion of obtaining the assistance, which is essential to allow the Company to address the effects of the crisis. At this stage, there are considerable doubts regarding the continued existence of the Company as an ongoing concern, and accordingly, the financial statements include an ongoing concern disclosure.

El Al’s CEO, Gonen Usishkin:

“The world is currently facing the deepest economic crisis it has known in the last 100 years. The aviation industry was the first to be hit by this crisis and the last to come out of it. Due to the continued pandemic, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around the world as to the timing at which the industry in general, and El Al in particular, will return to regular and meaningful activity.

The coronavirus crisis is of a magnitude not seen before, and even the strongest airline would not survive this crisis without government assistance.

EL Al’s management puts all of its energy in reaching the necessary agreements, including vis-à-vis its employees, to finalize the government assistance plan with the Ministry of Finance, the purpose of which is to stabilize the Company financially, and to allow its continued operation in future years. The assistance, along with the world gaining control of the pandemic, will allow the aviation industry and El Al to gradually return to regular and meaningful activity.

Even in such a challenging time, we take pride that El Al and its employees have made a significant contribution to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The Company has operated complicated flights to remote destinations, including Australia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Peru and others, to extract Israeli civilians and bring them home safely. The Company takes further pride in operating flights carrying essential cargo for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”

El Al’s CFO, Dganit Palti:

“The coronavirus pandemic has abruptly halted the Company’s plans to expand its operations, upon completion of the process of replacing its fleets and the innovative aircraft acquisition program. Notwithstanding that the Company entered the year with high cash balances of USD 264 million, the crisis has caused a serious liquidity problem as a result of halting all scheduled passenger flights as of March 2020. This liquidity problem was manifested primarily by a 25% decrease in the Company’s revenues, at a time when the greater part of the debt for the new aircraft has already been established. The decrease in fuel prices, which in normal times is a blessing, has led to losses in hedging transactions which, at low consumption rates, are in part not recognized as effective, and for which the Company recorded an expense of USD 56 million for the quarter. In addition, there was a decrease of approx. USD 108 million in capital funds in respect of all jet fuel, interest and foreign exchange rate hedging transactions which, in accounting terms, are recognized as effective. An additional decrease in equity was attributable to a net loss of approx. USD 140 million for the quarter. To improve its liquidity, the Company obtained an agreed deferral of lease payments, signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale and leaseback of three aircraft totaling approx. USD 76 million, realized its holdings in Maman in return for approx. USD 15 million, released excess amounts from old compensation funds totaling approx. USD 105 million, and made other moves. The Company is in talks with banks to raise loans in connection with the assistance plans offered by the government.”

Key Financial Results:

January-September

2020

2019

Change

Operating revenues

321

429

(25%)

Operating expenses

361

403

(10%)

Gross profit (loss)

(40)

26

EBITDAR[1]

(22)

16

Loss before taxes on income                       

(161)

(71)

126%

Loss for the period

(140)

(55)

152%

Profit and Loss for the First Quarter of 2020:

Operating Revenues

Operating revenues for the reported period decreased by approx. USD 108 million, reflecting a decrease of 25.2% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Revenues from carrying passengers decreased by approx. USD 107 million, indicating a decline of 28.2%. This decrease is attributable primarily to the decrease in passenger revenue per kilometer (RPK) flown by the Company and the decrease in yield per ton-kilometer, all due to the coronavirus crisis. In addition, there was a negative impact of exchange rates of currencies used for some of the Company’s sales transactions, in relation to the dollar.

The decline of approx. USD 10 million (about 9%) in revenues from carrying passengers started already in February, and significantly increased in March by approx. USD 100 million (about 69%) compared to the first quarter of 2019, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The Revenue Passenger-Kilometers Flown (RPK) decreased by approx. 4% in February and by approx. 65% in March compared to the same months in 2019.

Cargo revenues decreased by approx. USD 2 million due to a decrease in the amount of cargo flown and the decline in yield per ton-kilometer. A negative impact of exchange rates also contributed to the decrease in cargo revenues.

Operating Expenses

In the reported period, operating expenses decreased by approx. USD 40.9 million compared to the first quarter of 2019, for the following reasons:

  • A decrease of approx. USD 14.2 million in jet fuel expenses, as set forth below.
  • A decrease of approx. USD 13 million in payroll expenses. This decrease is attributable to a decline in operations and the result of sending employees to unpaid leave as of mid-March, and due to a decrease in actuarial expenses attributable primarily to an increase in the discount rate. On the other hand, there was a negative impact on exchange rates.
  • A decrease in expenses as a result of the decline in operations, as explained above, which was expressed by a decrease of approx. 16.8% in Available Seat per Kilometer (ASK). In March 2020, Available Seat per Kilometer decreased by approx. 56% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Jet fuel Expenses

The Company’s jet fuel expenses decreased in the reported quarter by approx. USD 14.2 million (reflecting a decrease of about 14%) compared to jet fuel expenses for the first quarter of 2019, as a result of a drop in jet fuel market prices and a 23% decrease in the amount of fuel consumed by the Company’s aircraft, due primarily to the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the operation of the 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which are more efficient in fuel consumption. On the other hand, in the reported quarter the negative impact of hedging transactions was higher, as described below, and offset in part the reduction in jet fuel expenses:

The table below reflects the impact of jet fuel expenses on the Company’s results, including the impact of hedging transactions:

2020

2019

Difference

Jet fuel expenses for the period (before hedging impact)

71.2

100.4

(29.2)

Impact of Jet fuel hedging transactions on profit and loss

15.6

0.6

15.0

Total jet fuel expenses (including hedging impact)

86.8

101.0

(14.2)

Amount of jet fuel consumed (in millions of gallons)

39.1

50.6

(11.5)

For further information about jet fuel hedging, see Section B below. For further information about the impact of derivative financial instruments on the financial statements, see Note 4 to the financial statements.

Selling Expenses

Selling expenses decreased by approx. USD 15.8 million compared to the first quarter of 2019, due mostly to a reduction in distribution costs that resulted from the decrease in operations, the decrease in payroll expenses, as explained above, and a decrease in orders for distribution systems.

General and Administrative Expenses

No significant change was recorded in general and administrative expenses compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Other Revenues (Expenses)

Net other revenues (expenses) amounted to approx. USD 11.6 million and consisted of capital gains from the sale of engines and inventory surplus, compared to the first quarter of 2019 in which an expense of approx. USD 0.3 million was recognized.

Financing Expenses

Net financing expenses amounted to approx. USD 65.1 million, compared to approx. USD 18.2 million in the first quarter of 2019. This increase is attributable mainly to an expenses of approx. USD 40.9 million for non-effective jet fuel hedging transactions in April-June 2020, when consumption was lower than the hedged quantity, and therefore, the negative fair value of these transactions as of the report date was credited to profit and loss. In addition, during the period there was an increase in loan interest expenses compared to the first quarter of 2019, mostly due to an increase in the amount of loans taken by the Company to finance the Dreamliner 787-9 and 787-8 aircraft that the Company acquired.

Loss Before Tax

Loss before tax amounted to approx. USD 161.1 million in the reported quarter compared to a loss before tax of approx. USD 71.0 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Tax Benefit

The tax benefit amounted to approx. USD 21.5 million in the reported quarter compared to USD 15.6 million in 2019, as a result of the increase in loss before tax.  The tax benefit was recognized in part up to the reset of the balance of net liabilities for deferred tax.

Loss for the Period

Loss after tax amounted to approx. USD 139.6 million in the reported quarter compared to a loss of approx. USD 55.0 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Balance Sheet as of March 31, 2020:

  • Current Assets. As of March 31, 2020, the Company’s current assets amounted to approx. USD 324 million, indicating a decrease of approx. USD 162 million compared to their balance as of December 31, 2019. This decrease resulted mostly from a decrease in cash and deposits balances and further decrease in trade receivables, which was offset in part by deposits provided by the Company as collateral for the jet fuel and interest hedging transactions.
  • Current Liabilities. As of March 31, 2020, the Company’s current liabilities amounted to USD 2,194 million, indicating an increase of approx. USD 1,111 million compared to their balance as of December 31, 2019. This increase is attributable primarily to the increase in short-time credit and current maturities due to the reclassification of the balance of long-term loans from financial institutions to current liabilities. In addition, there was an increase in the derivatives financial instruments item as a result of the sharp drop in jet fuel prices and LIBOR rates as well as in prepaid revenues from the sale of airline tickets. On the other hand, there was a decrease in the balance of trade payables and liabilities for employees.
  • Working Capital. As of March 31, 2020, the Company had a working capital deficit of approx. USD 1,871 millioncompared to a deficit of approx. USD 597 million as of December 31, 2019. Current liabilities as of March 31, 2020included approx. USD 1,080 million classified as short-term loans from financial institutions, and liabilities to employees for vacation pay in the amount of approx. USD 50 million, which are expected to be paid upon retirement but are classified as a short-term liability in accordance with accounting principles. In addition, an amount of approx. USD 265 million constitutes prepaid revenues from sale of airline tickets that, in the ordinary course of the Company’s business, is not repaid in cash but through the provision of future flight services. In view of the effects of the coronavirus crisis, and particularly in light of the halt of passenger flights as of March 2020, a portion of the said amount is required to be repaid in cash. Current liabilities also include a loan of approx. USD 31 million to finance advance payments for a 787-8 aircraft, which will be repaid by means of a long-term financing obtained upon receipt of the aircraft. As of March 31, 2020, the Company’s current ratio dropped to approx. 14.7% compared to a current ratio of 44.9% as of December 31, 2019.
  • Non-Current Assets. As of March 31, 2020, the Company’s non-current assets amounted to approx. USD 3,060 million, indicating a growth of approx. USD 49 million compared to their balance as of December 31, 2019, due primarily to an increase of approx. USD 78 million in the reduced ownership of the fixed assets and intangible assets, mainly as a result of the entry into service of the third owned 787-8 aircraft. On the other hand, there was a decrease in assets for employee benefits, rights of use of leased assets, derivatives financial instruments and long-term investments.
  • Non-Current Liabilities. As of March 31, 2020, the Company’s non-current assets amounted to USD 1,268 million, reflecting an decrease of approx. USD 976 million compared to their balance as of December 31, 2019, mainly as a result of reclassification of the balance of loans from bank corporations to current liabilities. In addition, the deferred tax balance decreased as a result of the loss before tax for the period and the negative fair value of the derivatives financial instruments, and there was also a decrease in liabilities for employee benefits and liabilities for leases. On the other hand, there was an increase in the derivatives financial instruments item as explained above, and further increase in the item of long-term prepaid revenues from club points.
  • Equity. As of March 31, 2020, total equity amounted to approx. USD 79 million. The decrease of approx. USD 248 million compared to equity as of December 31, 2019, is due primarily to the loss for the first quarter of 2020 and the negative impact of equity funds due to cash flow hedging.

2020

2019

Change

Scheduled and Charter Passenger Segments (paying passengers) – in
thousands

806

1,123

(28.2%)

Total Market Share – in percentages

23.3%

25.0%

(6.5%)

Passenger Revenue per Kilometer (RPK) – in millions

3,680

4,726

(22.1%)

Available Seat per Kilometer (ASK) – in millions

4,877

5,861

(16.8%)

Passenger Load Factor (PLF) – in percentages

75.4%

80.9%

(6.7%)

Flight Hours – in thousands

29.5

35.7

(17.2%)

Total average income per RPK – in cents*

7.3

7.6

(3.9%)

Cargo (Ton) Flown – in thousands

17.5

18.6

(5.8%)

Revenue Ton Kilometers (RTK) Flown – in millions

102.5

108.1

(5.2%)

RASK**

6.1

6.9

(12.5%)

CASK**

8.3

7.8

6.5%

CASK without fuel**

6.6

6.2

7.6%

Aircraft Fleet *** / ****

Number of aircraft in operation at the end of the period

45

42

3

Average age of aircraft fleet at the end of the period – in years

9.1

11.5

(2.4)

*    Revenues from passengers and related revenues from scheduled and charter flights, excluding changes in exchange rates.
**  Passenger aircraft, excluding financing expenses.

It should be clarified that reading the content of this announcement is not a substitute for reading the financial statements of the Company as of March 31, 2020.

[1] Profit before financing, taxes, depreciation, amortization and rent expenses.

El Al extends grounding until July 31

El Al Israel Airlines has made this announcement:

Following a further assessment, El Al has decided to extend the suspension of its flights until July 31, 2020 (Sun d’Or flights are also suspended until July 31, 2020).
The Company will continue to operate cargo flights to/from Israel and passenger flights as required.

El Al to operate special passenger flights, seeks $400 government million loan to stay in business

El Al to operate special passenger flights:

Origin – Destination ​Date ​Remarks
Flight Path: Tel Aviv-Paris-London-Tel Aviv May 24 / May 27, 2020 You can purchase One Way ticket to any of the destinations.
Tel Aviv – Hong Kong ​May 25, 2020 One Way
​Tel Aviv – Bangkok – Tel Aviv ​June 6, 2020 – June 8, 2020 ​One Way /  Roundtrip

Flights will be operated by the airline’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and offer 3 classes of service*: Economy, Premium, and Business.

Entry to Israel is only possible for Israeli passport holders, residence visa holders, or for passengers that have a specific entry approval, Includes residents of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights carrying Israeli travel document (laissez-passer). In addition, anyone returning from abroad must remain isolated for a period of 14 days on behalf of the State, according to government directives for those entering Israel.
Entry to France is possible for French or EU passport holders.
Entry to England is possible for any person that can prove his travel is essential. Before making your flight reservation you are requested to read the suite of UK’s government guidance on coronavirus >> Please read here further guidance regarding COVID-19 >>
Important: All flights from Heathrow airport are temporarily operating from Terminal 2. According to the UK government’s decision, all stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and lounges are closed.
•Entry to Hong Kong is possible only for residents. Transit flights via Hong Kong are suspended until further notice.
•Entry to Bangkok is possible for Residence Visa/Special Permit holders only!

It is recommended to contact the embassy of the relevant country before the flight in order to make sure the entry is possible.

Following a further assessment, El Al has decided to extend the suspension of its flights until June 20, 2020 (Sun d’Or flights – until June 27, 2020).
The Company will continue to operate rescue flights and will continue to operate cargo flights. In addition, EL AL will operate essential flights as required.

El Al is offering a new nonstop flight to Israel on a new Dreamliner from Boston to Israel next week on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Seating distance will be observed for safety. Tickets for flight LY016 are now available for purchase. The scheduled departure time from Boston is 6:10 pm with an 11:30 am arrival into Ben-Gurion International Airport the next day.

On the financial side, El Al issued this report:

In 2019, El Al was in the midst of a major upheaval in its aircraft fleet: The Company completed the removal of old fleets, received 14 Dreamliner aircraft and completed the interior improvement of its narrow-body aircraft fleet.

  • Notwithstanding the fierce competition, the Company succeeded in increasing its revenues by approximately 2%, to USD $2.18 billion.
  • The number of passengers flown by the Company grew by approx. 4%.
  • Operating expenses decreased by about 1% to approximately USD $1.83 billion.
  • Fuel expenses decreased by approx. USD $44 million as a result of the drop in fuel price and a decline in the amount of fuel consumed, despite the growth in operations, due to the efficiency of the Dreamliner aircraft.
  • The initial implementation of IFRS 16 adversely impacted the profit before tax by approx. USD $18 million.
  • Net loss in 2019 amounted to approx. USD $60 million, compared to approx. USD $52 million in 2018.
  • Cash flow generated by the Company from operating activities in 2019 amounted to approx. USD $294 million, indicating a growth of approx. USD 203 million compared to cash flow in 2018.
  • As of December 31, 2019, the cash balance in the Company’s account amounted to approx. USD $264 million.

The global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which, since the beginning of 2020, has had a material adverse impact on the global economy in general and the aviation industry in particular, abruptly stopped the momentum of activities of the Company, which was among the first to be hit by the crisis.

The pandemic led to a sharp decline in demand for passenger flights and resulted in a significant number of flight cancellations in February and March 2020 up to a complete cessation of passenger flights, in view of the government guidance on self-isolation, that caused the loss of substantially all of the Company’s revenues and created a liquidity problem for the Company.

The economic crisis was accompanied by a sharp decline in demand for oil that led to a drop in the fuel price and interest rates worldwide. Having performed jet fuel and interest hedging transactions, the drop generated losses to the Company, which was required to provide deposits in significant amounts to be used as collateral, thus aggravating the damage to its cash flow.

Due to the flight cancellations, the Company is required to make refunds to customers on a material scale.

To allow the Company to cope with the implications of the coronavirus crisis and immediately reduce the cash expenditure, the Company is currently implementing a series of streamlining measures:

  • Significant cut in the Company’s workforce – more than 90% of the Company’s employees are on an unpaid leave.
  • Reduction in executive and board members compensation by 20%.
  • Operational and financial activities aimed to reduce the Company’s expenses, including: agreed deferral of lease payments for some of the leased aircraft; cancellation of lease agreements of two 737-800 aircraft, that were expected to enter service in 2020, and the return of three wet-leased aircraft to the lessors.
  • Suspension or cancellation of projects involving investments.
  • Conversion of passenger aircraft for cargo operations.
  • Partial release of NIS 105 million from the surplus of central compensation funds established as part of the Company’s privatization.
  • Signing of a memorandum of understanding with a foreign company for the Sale and Lease Back of three 737-800 Boeing aircraft for approximately USD $76 million.

The Company is conducting negotiations with lenders and with the Ministry of Finance to obtain a loan of USD $400 million, most of which will be backed by a state guarantee.

Given the uncertainty over the completion of said assistance, which is essential to allow the Company to address the consequences of the crisis at this stage, the Company estimates that there are significant doubts about its continued existence as a going concern.

El Al’s CEO, Gonen Usishkin:

“El Al is one of the Israeli economy’s most significant corporate casualties from the coronavirus crisis, and for this reason we asked the Israeli government to assist El Al as most countries in the world have done.  In the last two months the Company’s management team has been working around the clock to implement a series of operational and financial measures aimed to reduce the Company’s expenses, maintain its liquidity and allow it to operate. The Company had to halt its main operations, i.e. passenger carriage, in view of the government guidance, and it uses the wide-body passenger aircraft along with the cargo aircraft for extensive cargo operations. We established a streamlining program to allow the Company to operate in the coming years and return to profitability; however, these measures will not be sufficient without the Israeli government support.”

El Al’s CFO, Dganit Palti:

“We completed 2019 with an increase in revenue and gross profit. The Company reported a loss of approximately USD $60 million, which was also affected by the initial implementation of a new accounting standard. However, notwithstanding the loss, the Company generated unprecedented cash flow from operating activities totaling USD $294 million and completed the year with high cash balances of USD $264 million in its account. In view of the impact of the global crisis that paralyzed the aviation industry, El Al’s passenger operations have stopped, and it found itself in a serious cash flow crisis. The Company took many steps to improve its liquidity, mainly by sharply reducing its expenses and suspending investments. Concurrently therewith, we carried out financial transactions to improve the Company’s liquidity, inter alia, sale and lease back of three aircraft. We established a business plan containing profound streamlining measures that are currently in the process of implementation, and we expect the state’s decision to provide a guarantee for a USD $400 million bank loan, that will allow the Company to return to growth and profitability.”

El Al aircraft photo gallery:

El Al reports a net loss of $60 million in 2019

El Al Israel Airlines has issued this financial statement:

In 2019, El Al was in the midst of a major upheaval in its aircraft fleet: The Company completed the removal of old fleets, received 14 Dreamliner aircraft and completed the interior improvement of its narrow-body aircraft fleet.

  • Notwithstanding the fierce competition, the Company succeeded in increasing its revenues by approximately 2%, to USD $2.18 billion.
  • The number of passengers flown by the Company grew by approx. 4%.
  • Operating expenses decreased by about 1% to approximately USD $1.83 billion.
  • Fuel expenses decreased by approx. USD $44 million as a result of the drop in fuel price and a decline in the amount of fuel consumed, despite the growth in operations, due to the efficiency of the Dreamliner aircraft.
  • The initial implementation of IFRS 16 adversely impacted the profit before tax by approx. USD $18 million.
  • Net loss in 2019 amounted to approx. USD $60 million, compared to approx. USD $52 million in 2018.
  • Cash flow generated by the Company from operating activities in 2019 amounted to approx. USD $294 million, indicating a growth of approx. USD $203 million compared to cash flow in 2018.
  • As of December 31, 2019, the cash balance in the Company’s account amounted to approx. USD $264 million.

The global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which, since the beginning of 2020, has had a material adverse impact on the global economy in general and the aviation industry in particular, abruptly stopped the momentum of activities of the Company, which was among the first to be hit by the crisis.

The pandemic led to a sharp decline in demand for passenger flights and resulted in a significant number of flight cancellations in February and March 2020 up to a complete cessation of passenger flights, in view of the government guidance on self-isolation, that caused the loss of substantially all of the Company’s revenues and created a liquidity problem for the Company.

The economic crisis was accompanied by a sharp decline in demand for oil that led to a drop in the fuel price and interest rates worldwide. Having performed jet fuel and interest hedging transactions, the drop generated losses to the Company, which was required to provide deposits in significant amounts to be used as collateral, thus aggravating the damage to its cash flow.

Due to the flight cancellations, the Company is required to make refunds to customers on a material scale.

To allow the Company to cope with the implications of the coronavirus crisis and immediately reduce the cash expenditure, the Company is currently implementing a series of streamlining measures:

  • Significant cut in the Company’s workforce – more than 90% of the Company’s employees are on an unpaid leave.
  • Reduction in executive and board members compensation by 20%.
  • Operational and financial activities aimed to reduce the Company’s expenses, including: agreed deferral of lease payments for some of the leased aircraft; cancellation of lease agreements of two 737-800 aircraft, that were expected to enter service in 2020, and the return of three wet-leased aircraft to the lessors.
  • Suspension or cancellation of projects involving investments.
  • Conversion of passenger aircraft for cargo operations.
  • Partial release of NIS 105 million from the surplus of central compensation funds established as part of the Company’s privatization.
  • Signing of a memorandum of understanding with a foreign company for the Sale and Lease Back of three 737-800 Boeing aircraft for approximately USD $76 million.

The Company is conducting negotiations with lenders and with the Ministry of Finance to obtain a loan of USD $400 million, most of which will be backed by a state guarantee.

Given the uncertainty over the completion of said assistance, which is essential to allow the Company to address the consequences of the crisis at this stage, the Company estimates that there are significant doubts about its continued existence as a going concern.

El Al’s CEO, Gonen Usishkin:

“El Al is one of the Israeli economy’s most significant corporate casualties from the coronavirus crisis, and for this reason we asked the Israeli government to assist El Al as most countries in the world have done.  In the last two months the Company’s management team has been working around the clock to implement a series of operational and financial measures aimed to reduce the Company’s expenses, maintain its liquidity and allow it to operate. The Company had to halt its main operations, i.e. passenger carriage, in view of the government guidance, and it uses the wide-body passenger aircraft along with the cargo aircraft for extensive cargo operations. We established a streamlining program to allow the Company to operate in the coming years and return to profitability; however, these measures will not be sufficient without the Israeli government support.”

El Al’s CFO, Dganit Palti:

“We completed 2019 with an increase in revenue and gross profit. The Company reported a loss of approximately USD $60 million, which was also affected by the initial implementation of a new accounting standard. However, notwithstanding the loss, the Company generated unprecedented cash flow from operating activities totaling USD $294 million and completed the year with high cash balances of USD $264 million in its account. In view of the impact of the global crisis that paralyzed the aviation industry, El Al’s passenger operations have stopped, and it found itself in a serious cash flow crisis. The Company took many steps to improve its liquidity, mainly by sharply reducing its expenses and suspending investments. Concurrently therewith, we carried out financial transactions to improve the Company’s liquidity, inter alia, sale and lease back of three aircraft. We established a business plan containing profound streamlining measures that are currently in the process of implementation, and we expect the state’s decision to provide a guarantee for a USD 400 million bank loan, that will allow the Company to return to growth and profitability.”

El Al aircraft photo gallery:

El Al suspends all flights until at least May 2

El Al Israel Airlines has made this announcement:

Following a further assessment, EL AL has decided to extend the suspension of its flights until 2 May 2020.
From 3 May 2020 until 30 May 2020, EL AL is planning to operate flights to/from New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Johannesburg, London, and Paris. The schedule will be updated on the systems and are subject to change. During this period flights to additional destinations may be added as required.
The Company will continue to operate rescue flights and will continue to operate cargo flights. In addition, EL AL will operate essential flights as required.
Suspension of Flights:

Destination ​Last flight
​​Paris, London and New York ​​Until 4.4.2020
​Other ELAL destinations Until 2.5.2020
Sun d’Or – Until 31.5.2020

In light of the situation, the Internet service on aircraft is not available as of March 24, 2020.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Flexibility in changes for purchased flight ticket:

​Origin/Destination ​Departures ​Validity Change terms & conditions
All EL AL destinations ​Until 30.6.2021 (inclusive) For departures from 1.7.2020 until 30.4.21
• No change fees
• No handling fees
• Ticket price differences to be paid  
• Cancellation – subject to flight ticket terms and conditions

El Al aircraft photo gallery:

El Al drastically cuts its schedule

El Al Israel Airlines made this announcement:

El Al will continue to maintain the air link between Israel and the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and South Africa. We are offering full flexibility to customers who have tickets for travel through March 31, 2020, and want to advance their return. There will be no change fees or any difference in fare.

As of this Saturday, March 14, 2020, El Al will gradually adjust its flight schedule to Israel from most gateway cities in North America.

El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin stated, “In recent days and hours, reports of a complete halt by foreign airlines to Ben Gurion International Airport are mounting in light of the new restrictions imposed by the Israel Ministry of Health as well as a decrease in demand. After assessing the current situation, El Al is forced to temporarily and gradually suspend flights on most of the airline’s worldwide routes, including gateway cities in North America, starting this Sunday, March 15, 2020. As the national airline of Israel, El Al will maintain the air link between Israel and the New York (JFK/Newark), Toronto, London, Paris, and Johannesburg for both passenger and cargo traffic.”

El Al continues to closely monitor new guidelines set forth by the Israel Ministry of Health and is fully prepared to resume flights quickly to various destinations throughout the world, according to operational and commercial needs.

Here is the adjusted flight schedule from other USA gateway cities until we are able to resume normal operations as soon as possible:

– The last departure from Las Vegas is Saturday, March 14th.

– The last departure from Boston is this Sunday, March 15th.

– The last departure from San Francisco is Monday, March 16th.

– The last departure from Miami is Wednesday, March 18th.

– The last departure from Los Angeles is Thursday, March 19th.

We are recommending that all of our customers advance their return flight to North America.

As a reminder, El Al is allowing customers holding tickets for travel through April 30, 2020, to postpone flights or freeze their tickets for departures starting May 1, 2020, until February 28, 2021, free of charge. No change or reissue fees will apply except for a difference in fare, if applicable.

Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.

In addition, the Israeli government is now requiring Non-Israeli passengers wishing to enter Israel to prove that they intend to self-quarantine upon arrival in Israel.
El Al aircraft photo gallery:

El Al cuts back on flights to China and Asia

El Al Israel Airlines made this announcement:

Gonen Usishkin, El Al CEO:

“We are continually monitoring the reports from China.  We hope that the recent cautious optimism as reported in the global media will indeed continue in the coming days.  Nevertheless, we at El Al have decided to make commercial adjustments to the schedule in the Far East and increase frequencies to North America and Europe with a focus on the upcoming Passover period.”

  • Beijing – following the previous announcement of temporary suspension of the flights until March 25,2020, will now extent until April 24, 2020.
  • Hong Kong – following the decision to allow customers to change or cancel their flights without a penalty, the airline will now temporarily suspend its flights until March 20, 2020.
  • Bangkok –  El Al will continue its flights to Bangkok, however will reduce frequencies from double daily to one daily on certain dates.
  • Tokyo – El Al is preparing to inaugurate the launch of the historic Japan route on March 11, 2020 as planned.

El Al will do all possible to assist its passengers holding tickets for the changed or canceled flights, finding alternative flights as needed.

As soon as the situation allows, El Al will reinstate its flights to Beijing and Hong Kong even prior to the dates mentioned.

El Al aircraft photo gallery: