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El Al to increase 777 seating during interior revamp

El Al is to revamp the interiors of its Boeing 777-200ER fleet from next year, increasing the number of seats in the long-haul type.

The airline says the refit will take place over 2020-21. It is already upgrading the interiors of its 737-800s with additional seating.

El Al says it is facing a "sharp increase" in the capacity supplied by foreign competitors in the Israeli market, and that it has led to a surplus compared with demand with a consequent fall in fare levels.

This is "particularly noticeable" on routes to the Asia-Pacific region, it says, reiterating the ability of Air India to operate through Saudi Arabian airspace whereas El Al is prohibited from doing the same.

El Al says it is focusing on product improvement, of which the "most significant" is the enhancement of aircraft interiors.

Additional seats for the 777s – which currently average 279 seats – will provide "greater operational efficiency", it adds.

El Al says the 777s will be refitted with 787-type interiors with business, premium-economy, and economy cabins, with "addition of seats" to the economy section.

There are six 777-200ERs in the fleet.

El Al has taken delivery of 11 787-9s and is set to receive one more, plus four 787-8s, by early 2020. The 787s are replacing Boeing 767-300ERs, which have already been withdrawn, as well as 747s which are being gradually phased out.

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