Israeli flag carrier El Al is entering final negotiations with Boeing and Airbus on its medium-sized widebody requirement and is expected to make a selection by the end of September.

Boeing proposes three 777-200ERs, plus options on two additional aircraft, which could be 767s, 777s or 747-400s. Sources close to the competition say the options will probably comprise a 777 and a 767.

Airbus is offering two A330s and two A340-300s for the firm component of the order, plus a fifth widebody on option to be later reconfirmed as an A330 or A340.

El Al wants to begin taking delivery of the aircraft in the first quarter of 2001. Boeing is favoured to win the deal, given Israel's strong political links with Washington. The carrier has never bought an Airbus aircraft.

The airline has appointed Chase Manhattan bank to examine funding for the proposed order. Observers believe Airbus's chances will be boosted if El Al decides to lease the aircraft (Flight International, 18-24 August).

Source: Flight International