Arie Egozi/TEL AVIV

El Al is planning to save money by selling its Boeing 757 and 767 fleets and boosting its 737s and 777s to reduce the number of aircraft types it operates.

The Israeli national airline operates six all-Boeing fleets - 737s, 747-200s, 747-400s, 757s, 767s and 777s - but intends to sell its eight 757s and six 767s in order to purchase more 737-800/900s and 777s. El Al operates two 737-700s, three 737-800s and one 777, with two more on order. A fifth 747-400 is also an option, while the 747-200s will be sold.

"Four fleets will save us money and provide the seasonal flexibility we need," says Uri Sirkis, El Al's vice-president commercial. Eliminating two fleets means fewer spares and less maintenance gear.

Meanwhile, El Al hopes that the new Ariel Sharon government will make civil aviation a higher priority than the last. "I hope they will understand aviation is a basic need for the economy," says David Hermesh, El Al president. "This change of attitude should include the privatisation of El Al," he adds. A sell-off has always been impeded by the ban on flying on the Sabbath and religious holidays.

Source: Flight International