El Al faces growing losses

TEL AVIV, Israel -- The continuing troubles in Israel have had a severe impact on El Al Israel Airlines, the national carrier, with the company projected to lose about $160 million in 2001, according to an El Al spokeswoman.

The primary factor behind the loss is the decline in tourism due to the continued, and seeming endless, unrest between Israelis and Palestinians.

However, El Al, which is owned by the state of Israel, lost a reported $109 million in 2000, which, when considering that the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict began in the fall of that year, suggests there are other problems in the organization.

Earlier this year, the firm announced plans to reduce its workforce by as much as 20%, though specific positions were not identified. El Al offered early retirement to approximately 300 employees.

Meanwhile, the carrier has been busy stateside, adding three new sales representatives in the U.S. The new arrivals include two in the New York and New Jersey office and one in California.

Michael Rosin, who has been with El Al for 10 years, most recently in group reservations, and Conrad Barreiro, new to El Al, are new to the New York and New Jersey offices.

Joanie Dragon, who previously worked with local tour operators, is the newest Northern California sales representative.

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