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Sunday, August 09, 2020
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(JNS and combined sources) Israel’s national carrier El Al Airlines has ceased all flights to and from Tel Aviv until further notice, amid a rise in COVID-19 infection both at home and abroad, as well as the company's financial crisis.

EL Al CEO Gonen Usishkin ordered all the company’s aircraft to return to Israel, in addition to canceling two passenger and four cargo flights scheduled for July 1, Globes reported.

El Al’s cargo business already saw a drop when foreign airlines resumed flights to Israel, according to the report, which also noted that this week the company reported a $140 million loss for the first quarter of the year. Pilots’ committee representative Nir Reuveni criticized El Al management for refusing a generous offer of rescue by the government to help the airline handle its debt. El Al has announced that it was in advanced stages of arriving at an agreement to receive aid from the government, but still needed the agreement of the workers and unions in order to receive the aid. Reuveni accused the current managers of being incapable of leading the company, which is seeking an investment of $400 million.

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Separately, foreign ministry officials said this week that the stated deadline for the opening of Israel’s borders would not be met.

“With such a high infection rate, Israel can forget about the August 1 resumption [of tourism],” a Foreign Ministry official told Ynet. “All the work that has been done so far has gone down the drain. Israel was ready to open its borders to at least 12 countries, which is no longer relevant. Israelis are no longer wanted.”

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