TEL AVIV Nov 13 El Al Israel Airlines
posted a 54 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, boosted by
higher revenue and by efficiency measures as the company
continued to cut its workforce.
Net profit at Israel's flag carrier rose to a record $57.9
million from $37.5 million a year earlier, El Al said on
Wednesday. Revenue increased 6.2 percent to $643.3 million - the
highest in five years - as passenger revenue grew 6.1 percent
while cargo revenue dipped 0.8 percent.
Chief Executive Elyezer Shkedy said the airline faced
increased competition in the quarter as foreign airlines
increased the number of seats offered by 14 percent.
"The main change was due to the dramatic increase in the
activity of Turkish airlines to and from Israel, which amounts
to an incomprehensible support of the Israeli government in the
international expansion of Turkish carriers at the expense of
Israeli airlines, which are prevented from flying to Turkey,"
He said the Turkish carriers have rights to operate 126
flight segments a week, compared with none for Israeli carriers
to Turkey and called on the Israeli government to act to enable
Israeli airlines to compete fairly.
The company's workforce of 6,109 employees was down from
6,136 a year ago.
Operating costs rose 5.6 percent to $483.6 million due to
higher fuel expenses.
El Al is in the process of renewing its fleet and received
the first of eight narrow-body 737-900s purchased from Boeing Co
El Al's load factor - a measure of seats sold - rose to 84.8
percent from 84.5 percent a year earlier while its market share
at Ben-Gurion International Airport slipped to 30.2 percent.