Israel’s flagship airline EL AL will suspend operations on key routes by Sunday – but maintain connections to the UK.
The company’s decision comes after Israel took dramatic steps to seal its borders this week, asking any foreign visitor to self-isolate for 14 days. On Wednesday, El Al put 80 percent of its workforce on indefinite unpaid leave.
The company announced on Friday it would “suspend operations on most of the company’s routes gradually as of this Sunday… and continue to maintain regular air connections to the United States, Canada, England, France and South Africa.”
It added, “EL AL will allow its customers full flexibility for reservations” until the last day of the month “free of charge for changes, handling and price differences for flights departing earlier than originally booked.”
EL AL chief executive, Gonen Usishkin said: “In recent days and hours, reports of a complete halt in the operations of the foreign airlines at Ben Gurion Airport are mounting in light of the various guidelines and the decline in demand. After evaluating the latest situation, EL AL has had to gradually suspend its operations to most of its destinations as of Sunday evening, 15/3/2020.
“We are monitoring the situation and will continue to maintain regular air service to New York, Newark, Toronto, London, Paris and Johannesburg for the purpose of transporting passengers and cargo as per the published schedule.”
Earlier this week several airlines cancelled flights to Israel after the mandatory 14-day quarantine was announced. Firms taking the decision to suspend all or some of their Israel-bound services included Wizz Air, El Al, Aero Mexico, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines.