Yeshiva World News
El Al is grounding all flights to and from Israel on Thursday at midnight amidst a dire financial crisis in the wake of the lack of demand due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Israel’s national airline has dwindled to its current ten flights a day to New York, Toronto, London and Paris.
El Al stated that it will continue to operate cargo flights as well as flights to repatriate Israeli stranded overseas.
The move means that more employees will be placed on unpaid leave, joining the 5,500 employees who have already been laid off.
An El Al plane took off from Bogata, Columbia on Wednesday night, bringing back 70 Israelis to Israel. The flight was arranged in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry after Columbia shut its borders.
Another flight brought back Israelis from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Other South American countries including Brazil, Chile, and Peru have also announced border closures and it is believed that thousands of Israelis are still stranded there.
Earlier this week, in the first-ever direct flight to Australia, El Al flew to the continent down under to repatriate 250 Israeli from Perth, including 80 who had been in New Zealand. The flight, which took 17 hours, landed in Perth on Tuesday morning and took off several hours later. The flight required hours of work by Israeli diplomats in Canberra and Wellington, including special permission for the Israelis in New Zealand to enter Australia without appropriate visas.
Frantic efforts are also being made to rescue thousands of Israelis still in India, who has also closed its borders.
Israel has also arranged flights to rescue Israelis from Ghana, Bolivia, Croatia, Jordan and other locations around the world.