El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) suspended all of its flights on July 1 until further notice as CEO Gonen Usishkin ordered all aircraft, including those on cargo operations, to return to Israel, sources at the carrier told the business newspaper Globes.

The decision was made after the company's pilots' union announced late on June 30 that pilots would no longer work for the company. Earlier that day, El Al posted a USD140 million loss for the first quarter, compared to the USD55 million loss it sustained in the first quarter of last year.

Only 110 of the airline's 650 pilots are currently employed, according to Globes. The rest, like 5,800 out of El Al's total workforce of 6,300, are on leave without pay.

"The administration of the company did not even respect agreements that were signed with the union less than a month ago. The union had no choice but to arrive at the conclusion that the owners of the company are unable to save it from its situation," the union announced on Israel's KAN 11 television news on the evening of June 30.

El Al has said that it is in the advanced stages of negotiations on a government aid package but needs the agreement of employee representatives for it to go ahead. It is seeking a USD400 million cash injection, which could either be transferred in its entirety as a state-guaranteed loan or with USD250 million as a loan and USD150 million as a state-backed equity offering.

Last week, El Al said it had reached a deal with its cabin crew union to cut the number of permanent and temporary flight attendants and aviation managers, which would save USD30 million a year.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, only El Al's twelve B787-9s, three B787-8s, and four of its six B777-200(ER)s have been active. The carrier's eighteen B737-800s and eight B737-900(ER)s are inactive. The company has yet to resume scheduled passenger operations and has set July 31 as the date these flights will restart.

El Al had not responded to ch-aviation's request for comment at the time of going to press.