El Al informed the Towers to cancel the flights a week ago. The farmers, who were supposed to export mainly spices and flowers to Europe, were furious and turned to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Transport: “Customers will lose faith in Israeli growers.” El Al, which is estimated to have difficulty renting planes from foreign companies, claimed: “Efforts are being made to find a solution”
At the height of the export season of agricultural products such as spices and flowers for Christmas, El Al has abruptly canceled cargo flights to Europe scheduled for early December, and growers are afraid of getting stuck with the goods in the country – which will cause tens of millions of shekels in damage.
The growers turned to Agriculture Minister Oded Forer and Transport Minister Merav Michaeli over the weekend, demanding that they intervene immediately. “This is a death blow, severe damage to the growers and a loss of millions of shekels. Overseas customers will lose faith in Israeli growers regarding continuous supply,” the farmers warned.
El Al, which informed the towers about the cessation of flights a week ago, justified the move with “maintenance work.” The national airline operates daily cargo flights on a wet lease, ie through foreign companies (this allows it to fly cargo all year round, including Saturdays and holidays), but given the huge demand for cargo flights from China and the rest of Asia, foreign companies prefer to fly to the Far East. El Al is having difficulty obtaining aircraft or is required to pay much higher than what has been charged to it so far for a lease.
Anna Meller, chairwoman of the Spice Growers Association of Moshav Naama, said that “El Al has informed exporters from today to tomorrow that they are canceling flights to early December and have not even given a date for renewal. If they had come six months ago we would have found a solution. We are at a loss. Only now have we begun to recover from the corona crisis and the industry has recovered. Spice exports amount to 70 million euros a year, with Christmas accounting for 30% to 40% of our annual sales. Some growers will have to close the farm if they are left with the goods. The damage is twofold – if we do not provide it for the holiday, the customers will leave us. ”
A source at El Al said that “the company is making efforts to find a solution.”
Meanwhile, the government is expected to vote today (Sunday) on the outline for additional assistance to God that has been formulated by the Ministry of Finance. The outline states that El Al, which still appears in its financial statements as a living business note, will now receive an additional $ 30 million in two beats, provided that the company’s controlling shareholder, Kenny Rosenberg, also receives the same amount of $ 30 million, and will meet its previous obligations To the state – an infusion of $ 43 million into the company.
The outline further stipulates that the issuance of $ 105 million by EL AL, which the company was obligated to carry out until July 7, 2021 – and was not carried out, will be postponed until September 2022.