May 7, 2020 / 2:53 PM / 21 days ago

Israel's El Al Airlines extends unpaid leave for workers until June 30

JERUSALEM, May 7 (Reuters) - Israeli flag carrier El Al Airlines said on Thursday it was extending the unpaid leave for 6,000 workers until June 30, a day after it said a suspension of scheduled passenger flights would remain in effect until at least May 30.

“In difficult times, painful steps are required and there is no dispute that these are indeed very difficult days,” El Al Chief Executive Gonen Usishkin wrote in a letter to employees.

Usishkin said the eventual return of workers would be gradual, depending on commercial demand as well as the company receiving necessary loans. El Al says it needs $200-$300 million in loans and has asked for government help.

While Israel has started to ease up tight lockdown restrictions, there has been no change in policy requiring incoming passengers to enter quarantine and a prohibition on foreigners entering the country remains.

Usishkin noted that the airline industry was the first to enter the crisis and will be the last to leave. He said it would be at least July before there would be substantial passenger flights. (Reporting by Steven Scheer Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)

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