El Al has decided to purchase two Boeing 767-200ERs directly from Air France in a deal worth $86 million. The Israeli airline had originally planned to lease the two widebodied aircraft from Arkia but was finalising a decision to purchase the aircraft as Flight International closed for press.

The decision angered Israeli private airline Arkia, which was negotiating to purchase the two eight-year-old 767s from Air France for lease to El Al. The two high gross weight Pratt & Whitney PW4060-powered aircraft were originally delivered to UTA subsidiary Aeromaritime in 1990 and have been on lease to Balkan Bulgarian since 1992. UTA was merged into Air France the same year.

El Al will take delivery of the two aircraft in January and March 1999. It says it decided to acquire the aircraft directly because they will be required for a considerable time, at least until the arrival of new medium-sized aircraft such as the Airbus A330/A340 or Boeing 777.

The new aircraft boost El Al's 767 fleet to six. The widebodies will fly to Chicago, Hong Kong and Toronto.

Source: Flight International