El Al Israel Airlines’ chairman David Brodet said on Sunday he will step down from the post after seven months at the job.
Brodet said he is leaving the post after meeting targets he set for joining the airline in its time of need. “I came to perform reserve duty,” Brodet said in a statement. “I set out my aims and I am happy to say they have been met. Thus my reserve duty has ended.”
Brodet will step down at the end of the month and a new chairman still has to be named.
The airline said last week it is planning to slash 1,900 jobs, or nearly one-third of its staff, in a process that will be completed in the second quarter of the year, as part of a plan to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The nation’s flagship carrier reported a loss of $86 million in the first quarter of the year, compared to a loss of $140 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue slid 64% to $117 million from $321 million in the same period a year earlier, and costs including salaries and jet fuel declined 54%. For the full year 2020, amid the pandemic, El Al saw its net loss surge to $531 million from $60 million in 2019.
Amid the pandemic, which saw flights grounded and tourism plunge worldwide, the airline underwent an ownership change, with 28-year-old Eli Rozenberg becoming the owner in September via the Kanfei Nesharim company, in a bid to rehabilitate an airline that was ailing even before the pandemic. Rozenberg’s father, Kenneth (Kenny) Rozenberg, who financed the deal for his son, is the founder and CEO of Centers Heath Care, a chain of nursing homes in the United States.
After Kenny Rozenberg immigrated to Israel earlier this year, he was granted permission by the government to join his son in controlling the carrier and was named a director earlier this month.
Also earlier this month, the government gave the greenlight to a bailout package for El Al that includes the state purchasing $210 million worth of advance tickets for security personnel. The government aid is contingent on the company issuing $150 million in new shares, which El Al said it will do in July, as well as cutting back jobs and other costs. As part of the deal the controlling shareholder also needs to inject $43 million into the firm.
Kanfei Nesharim owns 40.02% of the airline; the public 36.06%; the State of Israel 13.41%; and Knafaim Holdings 10.51%, according to a company May 2021 presentation filed to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. El Al has a total of 45 planes in its fleet, 18 of which are leased.
El Al said earlier this month that it is preparing a strategic plan to deal with the consequences of the crisis and with the changing aviation market. As part of the plan the airline seeks to achieve cash flow balance for 2021 and positive cash flow in 2022.