El Al Profits Drop Sharply on Low-Cost Competition

An El Al plane taking off at Ben Gurion Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

In its latest annual report, El Al reported that its profits had dropped sharply in 2017, compared to a year earlier. Revenue was up 3 percent in 2017 over a year before, reaching $2.1 billion. But profit in 2017 was just $5.7 million – compared to $80.7 million in 2016.

The increase in revenue was due to the increase in the number of passengers, which were up 2.4 percent in 2017 over the previous year. Flights were also more full, with capacity of 84.7 percent in 2017. The sharp drop in profit – a 92.9 percent drop – was due to increased fuel costs, salaries, pension payments, and taxes.

El Al CEO Gonen Ussishkin said that the company was in the midst of a strategic overhaul of its activities. “During 2017 the company faced increased competition in the market for flights to and from Israel, as a result of the increased number of low cost carriers,” he said. “Despite the challenging business environment, El Al achieved a 3 percent increase in its revenue. We also experienced increased expenses due to the changes in the exchange rates between the shekel and the dollar, which affected salaries and the price of jet fuel. We intend to continue serving the Israeli public with updated and better service, including introducing our new Dreamliners on routes,” he added.

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