El Al's first-quarter losses deepen

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Israeli flag-carrier El Al has posted a net loss of nearly $43 million for the first quarter of 2011, compared with a deficit of $16.5 million in the same period last year.

The airline's revenues stayed broadly flat at $425 million but operating expenses surged by 11% to $403 million.

El Al's pre-tax losses more than doubled in the three months to 31 March, reaching $51.5 million.

While it increased capacity by 5%, traffic fell back by 1%, leading to a reduction in load factor of 4.5 points to 76.7%.