El Al May Abandon Cairo Line

It may however hand over the politically important route to another Israeli airline, Israir or Arkia

El Al (TASE: ELAL)  is losing $20 million a year on its regular flights to Cairo, and is considering cancelling the route as part of its restructuring plan, TheMarker has learned.

The privatized airline's CEO, Haim Romano, took off over the weekend to examine up close a number of the airline's destinations that it is considering cancelling - or cutting back on due to El Al's financial difficulties.

Another potential destination that the airline may abandon is Cyprus.

Cancelling the Cairo route would pose a political problem. On the other hand, El Al's flights to the Egyptian capital return empty: in fact the airline does not even bother to prepare meals for passengers for the flights in advance.

Also, security costs on these flights are particularly high.

Since Israel wants to continue the Cairo line in light of the special relations between the two countries, one possibility is that El Al will transfer the route to another Israeli company - Israir or Arkia. They could fly much smaller planes on the route, and possibly lose much less money.

In the past Arkia took over the route to Jordan after El Al stopped its flights.