El Al Israel Airlines expects to lose even more money in 2001 than in 2000 despite its cost-cutting measures. Directors at a board meeting held last week heard that the carrier expects to report operating losses of $80 million to $120 million in 2001, compared with $50 million to $70 million in 2000.

Earlier estimates had the airline losing about $70 million in 2001, but that was before the second


broke out in late September. Tourism plunged after the resurgence of violence in the region.

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The airline's dire estimate is based on the that passenger traffic will decline by 30% in 2001 compared with 2000. At the same time, costs will remain high. The cost of fuel in particular has risen steeply.

El Al refused to comment on questions from