(Bloomberg) -- Israel’s El Al airline said it’s made major operational changes to maintain services following the attacks on Israel by Hamas in October and the conflict in Gaza that’s followed.
The flagship carrier has overhauled its route network, adding some destinations and removing others, while bolstering cargo flights as other operators pulled back, it said in a statement. El Al has introduced a voucher program allowing passengers to book future flights, with 10% of the proceeds going toward assisting war victims in Israel.
The changes are part of a broader effort to stabilize El Al’s business after the war discouraged tourism to the region and forced the airline to reroute aircraft from overflying hostile areas. Most foreign airlines have stopped flying to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and aren’t expected to return before year-end.
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Altogether, traffic at Ben Gurion is down about 80% from levels expected prior to the war, El Al said. The airline added about 150 flights, including to New York, Bangkok and Madrid, in the first few weeks after the beginning of the war to help people leave the country or bring home security and rescue personnel, as well as equipment and medical teams.
The cargo effort is also helping to maintain outside connections, bringing in essential equipment. El Al said it’s converted one passenger aircraft for cargo use.
As it adds services, El Al has also suspended flights to destinations including Istanbul, Marrakesh in Morocco, and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The carrier brought forward seasonal route closures to locations including Tokyo, Dublin and Nice in France, while postponing new services to Mumbai and Delhi.
Altogether, the airline said it expects 5-10% decrease in capacity during the current fourth quarter, measured in available seat kilometers, or seats offered multiplied by distance flown.
--With assistance from Alisa Odenheimer and Leen Al-Rashdan.
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