El Al Pilots Organizing in Case of Airline's Collapse

The owners could theoretically close it down and reopen it, offering stingier terms to pilots

El Al's (TASE: ELAL) pilots are quietly taking preemptive steps to assure their status in the scenario of the airline's collapse.

The underlying postulation is that El Al could shut down either because of its financial condition, or because of a dispute between the workers and management.

Acting secretly, the pilots have been organizing, and are taking practical steps to set up a new corporation of the air crews. The corporation be a legal entity that would protect the pilots even if El Al fails.

For instance, one potential scenario is that the owners close down El Al as is, then reopen it and offer the pilots fired by the original El Al new jobs, at stingier terms.

The power behind the pilot's organization is their union, headed by Pilot Itai Regev, who was recently reelected to a second term. The union means to fast-track establishment of the corporation, assuming that its legal structure would enable the pilots to achieve their goals.

At present the air-crew sector in El Al has some 500 pilots.

In parallel with setting up the corporation, the pilots' union is preparing to combat efficiency steps planned by management.

The El Al management commented that it knows nothing about any such steps, and added that it doesn't discuss its labor relations with the press.

El Al has been controlled by the Borovich family since June 2003.

El Al stock from IPO in June 2003