How Israel’s Travel Ban Has Affected Its National Carriers
Israel is once more starting to see the infection rate rise. With the number of people now infected with the coronavirus higher than it was in October, the country has taken steps to help curtail the spread of the virus.
Unfortunately for the nation’s airline industry, this has meant a flight ban to numerous countries where people infected with COVID-19 remains high. Currently, the Omicron variant is ringing alarm bells due to the rate at which it is spreading. First discovered in South Africa, it is now running rampant in Europe and will soon overtake the Delta variant.
The Omicron variant spreads quickly
While believed to be not as deadly as other strains of COVID-19, its ability to spread quickly and infect many people has governments worried about their health systems. It is not just the number of people who may need hospitalization they are worried about but a lack of healthcare workers who are also becoming infected.
With Israel now adding the United Kingdom and the United States to its list of red countries, the national flag carrier of Israel, El Al, is devastated. Just last month, the Ben Gurion Airport (TLV)-based airline announced a third-quarter loss of $136 million, representing a 69% drop in revenue compared to the previous quarter.
We will have to live with the virus
When speaking about the decline in revenue and how El Al planned to cope in the coming month’s Deputy Director of International Affairs at El Al Stanley Morais told i24NEWS :
“We didn’t expect this situation, especially at this time of year. We expected a big flow of tourists coming in, Jewish communities from abroad as well as Chrisitan communities,” Morais said.
Even though it is impossible to keep up with regulations regarding the pandemic, Morais stressed that El Al is focused more on customers than it is on government regulations.
“We are maintaining our flights to non-red countries here from Israel… And even flights to countries that are red, like the United States, we are maintaining our flights to New York, London, Paris.”