El Al With Unprecedented Profit Surge Amidst Ongoing War

By Aryeh Stern

An EL AL plane lands at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

After navigating the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel’s national carrier, El Al, has witnessed a remarkable turnaround, marked by the reinstatement of coveted employee benefits. These perks include up to six free flight tickets annually for family members, a significant rejuvenation for the workforce, which previously accepted a $250 million state-guaranteed loan to ensure the airline’s survival.

The El Al workers’ union, representing 5,000 employees, recently reached a new agreement with management over the weekend. This agreement not only restored all previous benefits but also introduced additional perks. The spike in profits, amounting to a staggering 370% during the ongoing conflict, has played a pivotal role in this positive development. El Al became the exclusive option for overseas travel for Israelis after Oct. 7, essentially establishing a monopoly due to many foreign airlines avoiding landing in Israel due to safety concerns. This allowed El Al to raise ticket prices significantly.

In addition to the reinstated free tickets, the revised budget brings back various benefits, including recreational days, company-sponsored events, summer camps, and academic study reimbursements for employees’ children. The overall cost of these perks totals approximately $11 million annually. Furthermore, starting in 2023, employees will receive a bi-annual bonus, a noteworthy achievement as the original state provision did not permit handouts until 2026.

Pilots also saw the reinstatement of benefits, but management secured approval from the pilots’ union to hire new pilots for their Boeing 787 commercial jets. This hiring authority was previously exclusive to veteran captains, marking a strategic move for El Al’s future growth.

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