Israeli flag-carrier El Al is entering exclusive negotiations with Boeing and lessors with a view to acquiring around 30 737 Max jets.

El Al had previously disclosed that it was working on a single-aisle fleet-replacement strategy, and that it was talking to both Boeing and Airbus.

It currently uses older-variant 737s, a mix of -800s and -900s.

El Al states that it will discuss “purchase and lease” of the Max jets – without elaborating on the specific variants – with the US airframer and aircraft leasing companies.

“The aircraft will gradually replace existing Boeing 737s operated by the company and will also be used to expand the company’s fleet of narrowbody aircraft,” it adds.

El Al 737-900ER-c-Nicky Boogaard Creative Commons

Source: Nicky Boogaard/Creative Commons

El Al is looking to replace its fleet of older-variant 737-800s and -900s

El Al says the 737 Max jets would, if a deal is concluded, be delivered from 2027.

“The schedule for conclusion of negotiations and the signing of an initial offer document with Boeing for the purchase of aircraft is expected to last several weeks,” the carrier states.

It adds that it will begin negotiating with lessors during this period.

El Al estimates the total cost of the aircraft, including replacement engines and spares, at $2-2.5 billion depending on the mix of purchasing and leasing.

But it stresses that there is “no certainty” that either an initial or final agreement will be reached.