Israeli flag-carrier El Al has reached an agreement in principle with the country’s government on an additional aid plan in response to the air transport crisis.
The Israeli finance ministry states that the understanding follows “intensive negotiations” over the last few weeks between the parties.
Its framework plan includes an injection of “tens of millions of dollars” to be sourced from the government and the airline’s controlling shareholders.
The ministry says the agreement follows the continuing disruption caused by the pandemic and, in particular, the outbreak of the ‘Omicron’ coronavirus variant.
“[This aid] will allow the company to get through the crisis over the coming months,” it adds.
Other Israeli airlines are also in contact with the ministry, which says they will be similarly offered equivalent assistance.
“We promised not to leave Israeli aviation behind,” says finance minister Avigdor Lieberman.
He says the new framework will enable carriers to overcome the crisis while maintaining the principle that the companies’ capital structure will be strengthened by a combined injection of state aid and external funding.
The plan has received support from transport minister Merav Michaeli.
El Al turned in nine-month net losses of more than $300 million to the end of September, which it attributed partly to restrictions being re-introduced as a result of new coronavirus variants – particularly the ‘Delta’ strain.
Lieberman says the “best assistance” that the government could provide to Israel’s airlines is to “allow them to fly with minimum restrictions”.
“I hope that in the coming months we will open the skies to arrivals and departures,” he adds.