El Al's planned alliance fails to get off the ground

Tel Aviv
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Israeli carrier El Al's plan to form a new aviation alliance is not achieving the target set last year when it was conceived.

In August 2010 the Israeli airline announced that it had initiated the formation of a new alliance - to be called Eastern-Western - after failing to join one of the big three groupings.

When the initiative was announced, El Al already had the approval of three airlines to join: Russia's UTAir, Ukraine's Aerosvit and Armenian carrier Armavia. But limited progress has been made towards increasing the number of partners.

Sources said that the limited number of members in the new alliance "will decrease its planned efficiency".

In a parallel effort that was accelerated because the alliance is not growing as planned, El Al is increasing the codeshare agreements it has with foreign airlines. Its agreement with S7 was recently expanded to include an additional nine destinations in Russia.

El Al has so far failed in all its efforts to join one of the industry's alliances. While the carrier's policy of not flying on the Jewish Sabbath and its special security arrangements have been cited as reasons, Israeli senior sources said that the main reason is diplomatic.