Sources at EL AL, the largest Israeli airline, say that unless the airline starts to operate seven days a week it will face more problems in achieving profits.
EL AL was privatized some 16 years ago but in spite is flying only five and a half days a week in order to meet the religious demands that ban flights on the Jewish Shabbat.
This situation according to sources in the airline badly effects its results , especially in the reality created by the Open Skies policy of the Israeli government. This policy has brought a large has number of airlines to fly to Tel Aviv.
The fact that EL AL is operating only five and a half days a week also blocked it way to become a partner in one of the large aviation alliances.
The fact that the passenger numbers at Ben Gurion Airport in the third quarter, together with the decrease in the price of jet fuel, did not translate into an improvement in the bottom line of the Israeli airline.
El Al’s third quarter net profit was down 36 per cent in comparison with the third quarter of 2018, at $27 million, despite an 18 per cent rise in the number of passengers passing through Ben Gurion Airport in the quarter. For the first nine months of 2019, El Al posted a loss of $28 million, which compares with a loss of $21 million in the corresponding period of 2018.
The airline sources added that the fear from a boycott by the religious Jews is a “bad joke”
One of the sources said that a decision to fly seven days a week may cause a temporary boycott by Ultra-orthodox Jews “but that will be over soon”
The competition in the Israeli market is growing continuously and more and more foreign airlines fly to Tel Aviv. Virgin Atlantic was the last airline to go into this booming market. Other airlines have plans to fly to Tel Aviv.
By Arie Egozi
With more than 25 years of experience in defence publishing, Global Business Press and its industry leading titles Asian Defence Technology, Asian Airlines & Aerospace and Daily News are the leading defence publications in the region, present at more international shows and exhibitions than any other competing publication in the region.