El Al halves losses in first quarter 2012

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Israeli flag-carrier El Al has posted a net loss of $23.5 million for first quarter of 2012, down from a net loss of $42.9 million in the corresponding period in 2011.

Operating revenues in the three months to 31 March grew 1% to $429 million while operating expenditure fell 4% to $389 million, resulting in an 85% growth in gross profits to $40.4 million.

The company's effective cost price of aviation fuel rose by an average of about 8.8% from Q1 2011, while the market price of aviation fuel rose by an average of about 9.1% during the period.

Operating losses totalled $24 million, down from an operating loss of $53.5 million in the parallel quarter last year.

The airline's market share fell from 38.2% in Q1 2011 to 36.6%.

El Al president and chief executive Elyezer Shkedy says that the airline has been working on a medium- and a long-term business strategy over the past few months.

Shkedy adds that the airline is working with a consultant firm known as Shaldor to assist the airline in building its strategy.