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El Al halting flights to most areas of the world

El Al said Thursday it was pausing flights to most areas of the world, but would maintain lines to the US, Canada, the UK, France and South Africa as the airline grapples with the coronavirus-induced wipeout of nearly all its business activities.

The airline said it would gradually halt flights to Europe before Sunday, except for London and Paris.

Flights to Boston and Mumbai will cease on Sunday; San Francisco, Moscow and Brussels on Monday; and Miami and Los Angeles on Wednesday.

“We’re following the situation and out of national responsibility we’ll maintain regular air connections with New York, Newark, Toronto, London, Paris and Johannesburg for the purpose of transporting passengers and cargo,” El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin said.

El Al, Israel’s largest airline, said Wednesday it would soon put some 80 percent of its workforce, or 4,000 employees, on indefinite unpaid leave.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Incoming Tour Operators Association said Thursday that it was completely halting its business operations. Around half of its 1,600 office workers would be laid off or suspended without pay, and next week the organization expects to axe another 30% of its employees.