Israeli flag-carrier El Al believes traffic changes arising from the Gaza conflict have resulted in uncharacteristic winter demand for its services, and a unusually strong first-quarter performance.

It generated a pre-tax profit of just under $100 million for the first quarter, and a net profit of $80.5 million.

El Al says it achieved a 43% increase in passenger flight revenues and a doubling of cargo revenues over the first three months of the year, contributing to total revenues of $738 million.

“The traditional seasonality trend – according to which the winter months are characterised by lower passenger traffic – was not reflected in the current quarter,” it states.

El Al says that, instead, it experienced levels of demand more in line with peak seasons, which had a “materially positive effect” on its financial results.

The conflict led to “significant changes” in the movement of passengers in Israel and the supply of flights, which has persisted despite the gradual return of foreign carriers to the market.

El Al 787-c-El Al

Source: El Al

El Al says the first quarter, normally marked by low activity, has been uncharacteristically busy

El Al expanded capacity by 15% compared with the same period in 2023, while passenger traffic rose by 25%. Its load factor, as a result, increased by more than seven points to 92.6%.

It attributes the improvement in cargo performance to higher demand for air freight, particularly following the reduction in capacity from competing foreign carriers owing to the Israeli-Gaza conflict.

El Al introduced a Boeing 737-800 freighter last year to supplement its presence in the cargo sector.

Operating expenses over the quarter reached $618 million, up 25%, owing to increased activity. The airline points out that its salary expenditure rose as a result of wage agreements and the effects from some of its personnel having been recruited for military service.