In Step Toward Recovery, El Al to Resume Flights to New York, Los Angeles

The airline is restarting its service to the two US megacities on a very limited basis as Israel continues its gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Reuters

El Al will operate a limited number of weekly passenger flights to Los Angeles and New York, starting next week, as it takes steps to return its fleet to the skies.  

There will be two weekly flights to New York's JFK airport on Sundays and Thursdays, starting June 4, and one weekly flight to Los Angeles on Wednesdays, starting June 3. 

El Al had earlier announced that it would operate three other passenger flights next week: to Hong Kong on June 1, to Bangkok on June 6, and from Bangkok on June 8.

Under Ben Gurion Airport's new procedures, only those arriving for flights are allowed in the departure terminal, and they must wear face masks and have their temperature taken before entering. Tickets are now issued by special machines. 

The airport's managing director, Shmuel Zakai, said on May 25 that there might be a total of several dozen flights a day from the airport by mid-July. 

El Al grounded all of its regularly scheduled passenger flights due to coronavirus restrictions, and over the past few months has only been operating cargo flights and rare passenger flights such as ones to repatriate Israelis stranded overseas. Almost all of the airline's workforce has been on unpaid leave for nearly three months.  

Reports on May 24 said El Al is to bring back a small number of employees to prepare for the restarting of service to relatively close European destinations on a very limited basis. 

It should be noted that Israel's borders have yet to be reopened to incoming foreign travelers, although that may change in the next few weeks. The government has been discussing the possibility of granting entry without quarantine to citizens and non-citizens arriving from countries with similar coronavirus profiles.  

As of May 26, only those with Israeli citizenship, residency or special permission from the Immigration and Population Authority are allowed to enter the country, and they must go into quarantine for two weeks from the day of their arrival.