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El Al Scales Down Operations As Uprising Causes Drop in Tourism

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El Al, Israel’s national airline, is scaling down operations in anticipation of an $11 million drop in revenue this year, caused by the adverse effects of the Palestinian uprising on tourism.

El Al President Rafi Har-Lev told a news conference Sunday that the company planned economy measures, including combining flights, use of smaller aircraft and the dismissal of temporary workers.

He warned that 1989 could be even worse if the disturbances continue and tourism does not increase.

In addition, fewer Israelis are expected to travel abroad next year because there is expected to be less money available after the Knesset elections in November.

Har-Lev said a study showed that El Al has carried only 70 percent of the number of passengers they expected to fly so far this year. The number from the United States is expected to be down by a third.

The drop in bookings is especially noticeable in France, where the number of passengers in a given month has been half the number of the corresponding month last year.

Business has also dropped sharply in the Scandinavian countries, and Har-Lev said “economically, it would be worthwhile to suspemd flights to Copenhagen for three or four months.”

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