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El Al Airlines' profit soars on cost-cutting measures
November 27, 2012 / 10:51 AM / in 5 years

El Al Airlines' profit soars on cost-cutting measures

El Al airplanes are seen on the runway at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv August 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - El Al Israel Airlines posted a 79 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, boosted by a drop in operating costs as the company spent less on fuel and salaries.

Net profit at Israel’s flag carrier rose to $37.4 million from $20.9 million a year earlier, El Al said on Wednesday.

Revenue increased 1 percent to $605.8 million as passenger revenue grew 3.6 percent while cargo revenue fell 16.5 percent.

During the third quarter the company continued with its efficiency measures and was able to maintain a low level of expenses, Chief Executive Elyezer Shkedy said. The company’s workforce of 6,136 employees was down by 126 from a year ago.

Operating costs fell 6.3 percent to $458 million on lower salary and fuel expenses. The drop in fuel expenses was due to a reduction in operations as the price of jet fuel was little changed.

“We continue to act to formulate a business strategy for the medium and long term, which will reflect the company’s targets and strategy for the coming years,” Shkedy said, adding that El Al was preparing a detailed plan.

El Al is in the process of renewing its fleet and has purchased two more narrow-body 737-900s from Boeing Co (BA.N), bringing the number of planes acquired to six.

“The company is in the process of acquiring wide-body aircraft,” Shkedy said.

El Al’s load factor - a measure of seats sold - increased to 84.5 percent from 82.4 percent a year earlier while its market share at Ben-Gurion International Airport edged up to 31.9 percent. (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)

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