El Al to resume flights to Los Angeles, Miami, Amsterdam

Beleaguered airline says trips to restart in the coming weeks as pandemic continues to impede travel abroad; new routes join current lines to New York, London, Paris and Athens

El Al planes parked at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, Israel, on August 3, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
El Al planes parked at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, Israel, on August 3, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

El Al Airlines said on Tuesday it will resume flights to several destinations that were canceled due to the pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions.

The renewed flights will connect Israel to Los Angeles, Miami, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Kyiv and Sofia.

El Al, Israel’s flagship carrier, is already operating flights to New York, London, Paris and Athens.

The flights to Frankfurt, Germany, will begin on October 18; to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, on October 19; to Los Angeles and Miami on October 25; and to Sofia in Bulgaria and Kyiv in Ukraine on October 26.

The company is considering resuming flights to other destinations, and changing the frequency of its flights, depending on quarantine requirements for Israelis traveling abroad, and for foreigners traveling to Israel, the company said.

While some international travel has resumed, Israel still largely bars the entry of foreigners, and quarantine requirements upon return have made flying abroad unpalatable for many Israelis.

The airline’s customers will be exempt from fees for changing tickets until the end of February 2021, the company said.

The already troubled airline was dealt a near-fatal blow by the travel-restricting coronavirus crisis, which caused El Al to cease its scheduled passenger operations and furlough some 5,800 of its 6,303 employees.

Its financial statements for the first and second quarters of the year warned that there were “considerable doubts” regarding the continued existence of the company as a going concern, with revenues plunging and losses ballooning.

The airline announced in July that it was suspending all flight operations, after having already drastically scaled back services in March. The lone flight it has operated since was a symbolic trip to the United Arab Emirates carrying Israeli and US delegations to celebrate the establishment of open ties between the countries.

Earlier this month, the Government Companies Authority officially granted 27-year-old Israeli-American yeshiva student Eli Rozenberg control over El Al. Rozenberg’s newly minted Kanfei Nesharim Aviation purchased 42.88 percent of the carrier at $107 million in a September 16 sale, making it the controlling shareholder as defined by Israeli regulation.

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