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

intifada

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

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

Ha'aretz

.