El Al Seeing Growth
Tue, 11/23/2010
Staff Writer
El Al’s new president, Elyezer Shkedy.
El Al’s new president, Elyezer Shkedy.

El Al Israel Airlines
witnessed a 10 percent increase in passengers during the first half of this year compared to last year due in part to an improving economy and a feeling of security in Israel, according to its new president, Elyezer Shkedy.

“There is an understanding that Israel is becoming more and more of an attractive land for the Jewish people, for Christians and Muslims all around the world,” he said

“I am just back from other countries that have doubled in tourism and you cannot compare what they have to offer,” he added. “From the night life in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with its 3,000 years of history that is home to the three [Abrahamic] religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

El Al reported an increase of revenue by about 23 percent during the first half of 2010 due to more passengers and a 56 percent increase in cargo revenue due to the acquisition of another cargo plane. Cargo revenue totaled $48.4 million in the first half of this year, compared with $31 million during the same period last year.

Although El Al recorded a second quarter profit of $14.8 million this year, it experienced a $1.7 million loss for the first half of the year due to a first quarter loss of $16.5 million.

At a press conference here earlier this month, Shkedy said El Al would continue serving only kosher food, continue not flying on the Jewish Sabbath and continue spending millions of dollars on security.

He said also that the recently launched non-stop flights between Ben Gurion International Airport and the southern beach resort city of Eilat continue to meet expectations. Shkedy said the special $40 roundtrip fare for El Al passengers from the U.S. has been a “huge success.”