Israel’s finance ministry has rejected El Al’s request for state aid, prompting the airline to appeal directly to the country’s prime minister for help.

The Israeli flag carrier says in a 6 April notice to the Tel Aviv stock exchange that the finance ministry “is not approving the requested state-aid package”.

El Al says it is up to “the political echelon to make a different decision”, adding that it has “turned to the Israeli government for assistance”.

State aid is “essential” to enable the airline to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it says.

In March, El Al disclosed that it would suspend all remaining passenger flights while it awaited potential government financial support. It has also put 5,500 of its 6,350 employees on unpaid leave until the end of May.

Cirium data shows the airline has an all-Boeing fleet of 46 aircraft – 24 of which are narrowbodies. All of its aircraft, with the exception of five 787-9s, are listed as being in storage. El Al serves 55 destinations around the world from its Tel Aviv base.