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Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz took a time-out from visiting missile strike sites in the north to check out El Al's facilities at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday. It is the minister's first visit to the airline's maintenance and offices at the airport.

Mofaz met with El Al chairman Israel Borovich and with its CEO, Haim Romano.

Two weeks ago El Al admitted that it would evidently be posting a loss for the year 2006, due to soaring fuel costs and the sudden blow to tourism from the hostilities in the north.

Presumably Romano and Borovich hope to leave the meeting with Mofaz with promises of government assistance, as has been promised to hotels and businesses in the north that have been slammed by the war. The airline has already asked for relief in its intensely heavy security costs.