El Al Israel Airlines Operates in Emergency Mode Amid Conflict, Maintains Stable Passenger Numbers

El Al Israel Airlines has been operating under "emergency mode" since the onset of the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants last month, according to a statement made by the company on Thursday. This announcement was made as the company reported a decrease in third-quarter profits due to a one-time gain the previous year. 


El Al is one of the few airlines still providing flights to and from Tel Aviv, as most foreign carriers have suspended their services, partly due to insurance issues. The Israeli government has provided insurance support to domestic carriers to ensure they continue operations. "In these times, we bear a profound national responsibility towards our people and our country," stated CEO Dina Ben-Tal Ganancia. 


"We swiftly transitioned to emergency mode and ensured the maintenance of a stable and active flight schedule, prioritizing passenger safety and security." Since the conflict began, the Israeli flag carrier has made several adjustments, including increasing flights to and from North America, Thailand, London, and Paris, while suspending flights to certain other destinations. Flights recently added to Istanbul, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Marrakesh, which are among those suspended, may be permanently discontinued if demand from Israeli tourists does not recover post-war. 

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The airline noted a change in consumer behavior, with more customers opting for last-minute bookings rather than making reservations months in advance. El Al has also increased cargo flights to transport essential equipment to Israel. While the demand for holiday travel has dwindled, people continue to travel to visit family. The airline does not anticipate a significant decrease in passengers in the fourth quarter. The airline reported earnings of $52 million for the three months ending on September 30. This is in comparison to $67 million the previous year, which was boosted by a $38 million one-time gain from the partial sale of its frequent-flier club. Revenue increased by 11% to $696 million, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and the percentage of occupied seats slightly increased to 88.1% from 87.5%. El Al shares were down by 0.4% in afternoon trading in Tel Aviv.

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