Recent reports of the financial crash of El Al Airlines have been exaggerated, according to CEO Elyezer Shkedy.
“There has recently been interest from serious groups both in Israel and worldwide in investing in El Al and that’s a significant point indicating where El Al is seen as being,” Shkedy said, in an attempt to deflect doomsaying about the company’s prospects after cancellation of the First Israel Mezzanine Investors Fund (FIMI) investment deal.
El Al’s top executive made the comment at a ceremony to inaugurate the carrier’s Boeing 737-900, recently delivered to El Al as part of its fleet renewal, and to answer critics of its aging fleet.
The new aircraft is the first of eight of this model expected to arrive by the first half of 2016 at an overall cost of $430 million. In order to buy the aircraft, El Al has obtained long-term financing from external sources to cover 85% of the costs of the planes, with the balance financed independently, Globes reported.
The Boeing 737-900 was introduced by Boeing last year. and El Al is one of the first buyers. The plane is considered more efficient than the previous 737 model, and the costs of operation, including fuel, maintenance etc. are 5-10% lower. The aircraft has 172 seats and El Al will use it on routes to Central and Western Europe.
The new aircraft will make its debut flight to Paris on Thursday.