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February 23, 2009updated Feb 08, 2013

El Al Continues Fleet Expansion And Service Upgrades

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

New York, NY – EL AL, Israel’s national airline, continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to its “2010 Plan,” by providing an uncompromised level of service to benefit customers, implementing more sophisticated information systems, adding new routes, upgrading the in-flight product in existing aircraft and by expanding its fleet. All of these activities reflect the airline’s plans of progress and growth worldwide, while becoming even more economically efficient. This strategy is part of an ongoing endeavor to continue as a successful, innovative carrier as well as the first choice for travel to Israel, while maintaining the integrity of the carrier’s legacy as the national airline.

EL AL is implementing this strategy by continuing to renew and upgrade its fleet. Recently, the airline acquired one state-of-the-art Boeing 747-400 aircraft (named Rishon Letsion) that is servicing long-haul nonstop routes, including New York (JFK/Newark). On the new 747-400, premium classes are equipped with advanced sleeper seats and a superior video on demand (VOD) entertainment system. This year, the entertainment system in economy class will be upgraded to include a range of “on demand” interactive games and activities. On all EL AL flights between the U.S.A. and Israel, every seat is equipped with a personal television and a wide selection of in-flight programming.

A similar upgrade project has been completed on one EL AL 747-400 jumbo aircraft (Tel Aviv-Jaffa) and three other jumbos in the EL AL fleet (named Jerusalem, Haifa, Beer-Sheva) will be completed in April of this year. These aircraft are being fitted with luxurious sleeper seats in First and Business Class as well as enhanced seats in Economy Class. Every seat on the plane will be equipped with an electronic socket for laptops. An entirely fresh modern look will enhance the in-flight décor in every class of service. In 2008, EL AL successfully completed upgrading four 777 aircraft (named Galilee, Negev, Hasharon, Carmel) at a cost of $20 million. In total, EL AL will have a new and upgraded fleet of 11 long-haul aircraft, offering the most advanced seating and the highest level of service for all passengers.

Continuing with the trend of upgrading and expanding its fleet, EL AL signed a contract last year to purchase four new 777 extended range Boeing aircraft at a cost of approximately $540 million. The new 777’s will be utilized on the nonstop routes from New York (JFK/Newark) and from Los Angeles and are expected to join the EL AL fleet in 2012/early 2013. Each aircraft will be equipped with the latest technology, Rolls Royce engines, the most comfortable spacious seats as well as up-to-date in-flight personal digital entertainment systems for every passenger.

The first of five new Boeing 737-800 aircraft (named Caesarea) is being used on short-haul European and Mediterranean-basin routes. The remaining four planes (named Kinneret, Degania, Nahalal, Yarden) are scheduled to arrive in the coming months. The total investment for the five new aircraft is more than $150 million.

Upgrading In-Flight Product: Entertainment
In addition to fleet enhancement, EL AL has broadened the in-flight entertainment experience by offering up-to-date news, international weather and current event shows that are all produced by Channel 2 News, a leading television network in Israel. There is also a daily news summary in English broadcast by Channel One, the Israeli Broadcasting Network (IBN). Other popular Israeli TV programs in Hebrew with English subtitles can also be viewed. Additional in-flight programming includes a selection of first-run international movies, Emmy award-winning television series, a variety of shows for children and programs focusing on sports, nature, lifestyles, science and more.

Upgrading In-Flight Product: Healthy Cuisine
As part of an on-going effort to deliver an authentic taste of Israel, EL AL has partnered with several major Israeli culinary brands such as Tnuva and Arcaffe. Gourmet healthy kosher meals, freshly prepared by Israeli chefs, are served to passengers in all classes of service. There is also an option to choose from 20 special meals (including meals for children) that must be ordered at least 48 hours prior to departure.

Relaxing Premium Class Lounges
Premium Class passengers relax in luxurious First and Business Class lounges at JFK, Newark, Los Angeles and at Ben Gurion International Airports. All feature a hi-tech business center with free Internet and plasma TV’s, delicious snacks and more. In the

EL AL King David Lounge at Ben Gurion Airport, guests can relax with a 20 minute spa treatment of their choice for free (a reservation is suggested). The massage and treatments are given by a therapist from the well-known Carmel Forest Spa Resort in Israel.

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Sophisticated Information Systems
As part of the airline’s technological upgrades and commitment to the foundation of the company, EL AL has invested more than $8 million in a new, cutting edge worldwide reservations system called Amadeus. The new user-friendly system improves service to all EL AL customers (including Matmid frequent flyers) and travel agents. Technology is streamlined so there is now a simpler ticketing, reservations and seating process, increased booking options for customers on the EL AL website and a more convenient check-in procedure.

Nonstop Flights Between South America and Israel
As part of the airline’s “2010 Plan” and in response to the growing demand from both the business and leisure markets, EL AL is announcing nonstop service between South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Tel Aviv. The new service is expected to commence in the spring of this year, pending government approval. EL AL will also offer connecting flights from Sao Paulo to various destinations across the continent, including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, as well as additional cities within Brazil, such as Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and more. Flight schedules, frequencies and prices will soon be announced.

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