Israeli charter operators Arkia and Israir suspend their flights abroad

Tel Aviv, Israel - Two Israeli charter operators providing international services suspended their flights abroad after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that anyone arriving in the country must self-quarantine for 14 days due to the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak.

Arkia Airlines stated it was suspending its international flights until further notice and redirecting its resources to support domestic services. Israel's popular vacation destination Eilat will be among to see the increased flight frequency from and to Telaviv.

This is a death blow. There is no more Israeli aviation — not Arkia, not El Al, not Israir,

airline's president Avi Nakash said.

Another operator Israir Airlines said it will also cease its international charter flights until the end of March. The company said in a statement it will strive to bring all of its around 5000 passengers back to the country who are still abroad.

The airline’s internal flights from Haifa and Ben Gurion Airport to Ramon International Airport near Eilat will continue as scheduled.

This is a difficult time for the country’s tourism industry,

Israir said.

The country's flag carrier El Al said revenue decline for the first quarter would amount to $80-90 million, while it expected losses for the same period of $70-90 million. The airline also said losses would be offset to a certain extent by cuts in operating expenses.

The airline laid off hundreds of employees and slashed salaries last week as it grappled with ongoing financial losses accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.