El Al and the airline alliances

It’s a war and it is one that El Al is losing and will keep losing without the help of the Israeli leaders. But they simply are not helping.

The Israeli leaders in many ways are different from those of other countries. I will not count the differences but one is very frustrating and annoying and above all, inexplicable. Prime ministers, defence ministers and finance ministers in the West and East are almost constantly helping companies from their respective countries to win international tenders.

In Israel, everything is different. Here the leaders act (or rather don’t act) as if it is not their job to assist. This is always the case even if the situation arises from their decisions through the years.

Why do I bring up this subject now when it is not new? El Al has been privatised but is still considered the national airline of Israel. The company has been trying for years to become a member in one of the aviation alliances, so far with no success.

An airline that is not a member, faces many problems. Whenever the senior management of El Al bring up the subject during talks with their counterparts in foreign airlines, they receive almost a standard answer: “The fact that you are not flying seven days a week and because of your special security measures it is not possible.”

This in polite words is a very weak excuse but it does not relate in any way to the real reasons which are mainly political. And at this point all the Israeli politicians failed. Not one of them ever really tried to help El Al to get a little closer to the door of one of the alliances.

Leaders of the highly advanced countries in West and East are flying thousands of kilometers to help their industries to win large contracts and to penetrate new markets. Here is something much simpler but no less important. This is not about winning an international tender…it’s about competing on a level playing field with your competitors.

Recently El Al in a desperate move initiated a new alliance with some eastern European airlines. This in no way is a substitute, but with no help from the politicians, this will be the only one at least for the foreseeable future.







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