Israel’s national airline El Al suffered a loss of $60 million, despite rising revenue of around $614 million, according to the company’s 2019 financial results.

Passengers increased by 4 percent, and operational expenses dropped in 2019, the Israeli business daily Globes reported on Thursday.

The auditors of the report noted that concern centers on “repercussions of the spread of the coronavirus, which has resulted in a lack of demand and grounding of the company’s scheduled passenger flights.”

However, the $60 million loss in 2019 came before the coronavirus crisis.

The Israeli government is in talks to bail out the airline, granting loan guarantees for 80 percent of a $400 million loan.

Gonen Usishkin, CEO of El Al, wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday for him to intervene in the negotiations with the Finance Ministry on the terms of a bailout.

“We are asking you to instruct the Treasury to amend the outline it presented and to remove the unsuitable restrictions,” said Usishkin, reported i24 News. “Last night, we received a document in which the Treasury made additional unsolicited requirements, the sole purpose of which was to send El Al into liquidation.”

Meanwhile, Israel is weighing opening Ben-Gurion International Airport in early June as the coronavirus outbreak continues to level off in Israel.

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