The Israeli national airline will take off again very soon thanks to a new major investor: A young New Yorker with a wealthy father but no aviation experience.
He was born in New York and has been living in Israel for several years: Eli Rozenberg, aged between 26 and 30 according to various sources, is the new largest shareholder of El Al. His company Kanfei Nesharim secured 42.85 percent of the shares in the airline. The Israeli state also invested and will from now on hold between 12 and 15 percent of El Al.
According to newspaper Jüdische Allgemeine, there is speculation in Israel that Eli Rozenberg’s father Kenny is the financier of the deal and is pulling the strings in the background. He had made a fortune in the USA with a nursing home company, but could not join El Al himself because, unlike his son, he does not have Israeli citizenship. The family has no experience in the airline industry.
Slow restart of operations
Soon El Al will take off again under the new ownership. From September 21, cargo business is to be slowly ramped up, and passenger traffic from October 1. However, the number of flights will be low in the beginning. The airline has also extended unpaid leave for thousands of employees until October 31.
El Al’s aircraft have been grounded since July. The airline is severely affected by the Coronavirus crisis. In mid-August, the airline extended the suspension of flight operations until the end of September, stating this is due to «still existing quarantine restrictions for passengers arriving in Israel».
Service over fleet
The new major shareholder has not yet commented on how much El Al and its fleet will shrink. Rozenberg’s company, Kanfei Nesharim, said it wanted to restore passenger confidence and secure thousands of jobs with the airline. The company also said it would place a special emphasis on punctuality and on improving service, flight experience and on-board catering.