El Al


El Al

Infobox Airline
airline = El Al Israel Airlines

logo_size =
fleet_size = 34 (+9 orders)
destinations = 45 (+6 cargo)
IATA = LY
ICAO = ELY
callsign = ELAL
parent =
company_slogan = "הכי בבית בעולם" Literally: "The most at home in the world" Translated: "Home away from home"
founded = 1948
headquarters = Airport City, Israel
key_people = Israel "Izzy" Borovich (Chairman)
Haim Romano (CEO)
bases =
hubs = Ben Gurion International Airport
secondary_hubs =
focus_cities =
frequent_flyer = Matmid
lounge = King David Lounge
Alliance = Star Alliance
subsidiaries = Sun D'Or [http://www.elal.com/ELAL/English/AboutElAl/Subsidiaries.htm El Al "Subsidiaries"] ]
website = http://www.elal.com/

El Al ( _he. אל על, "skyward") (TASE: [http://www.tase.co.il/TASEEng/General/Company/companyDetails.htm?companyId=001152 ELAL] ) is the national airline of Israel. [citeweb | url=http://www.galbithink.org/topics/ka/priv.htm | title=Divestiture of Flag Carriers | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Galbi Think] citeweb | url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=683390&contrassID=1&subContrassID=5 | title=El Al Airlines installs anti-missile systems on passenger aircraft| accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Haaretz|quote=El Al, Israel's national carrier and largest airline|date=2006-02-15] It operates regular international passenger and cargo flights between its hub at Ben Gurion International Airport and destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as domestic connections to Eilat. [citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/FlightInfo/FlightSchedule/ | title=El Al Flight Schedule | accessdate=2007-05-28 | publisher= El Al]

Since its inaugural flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv in September 1948 the airline has grown to serve 48 destinations on four continents.citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/AboutElAl/ | title=History of El Al | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=El Al] As the former national carrier of Israel, El Al has played an important role in Israel's humanitarian rescue efforts, airlifting Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen, and other countries where their lives were at risk. The airline holds the world record for the most passengers on a commercial aircraft, a record set by Operation Solomon when Jewish refugees were transported from Ethiopia. El Al is widely acknowledged as the world's most secure airline, after foiling many attempted hijackings and terror attacks through its security protocols. [cite web| title=El Al secure because it must be| url=http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/07/04/el.al.security/| publisher=CNN| date=2002-07-05| accessdate=2007-10-23] [citeweb | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/10/01/elal-usat.htm | title= Unfriendly skies are no match for El Al| publisher=USA Today |date=2001-01-10|last=Walt|first=Vivienne| accessdate=2007-04-29 ]

History

Early years

In September 1948 Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, attended a conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Weizmann was scheduled to fly back to Israel in a government aircraft , but due to an embargo imposed on Israel at the time, this was not possible. A C-54 military transport aircraft was instead converted into a civilian plane to transport Weizmann home. The aircraft was painted with the El Al/Israel National Aviation Company logo and fitted with extra fuel tanks to enable a non-stop flight from Geneva to Israel. It departed from Ekron Air Base on 28 September, and returned to Israel on 30 September. After the flight, the aircraft was repainted and returned to military use.citeweb | url=http://www.answers.com/topic/el-al-israel-airlines-ltd | title=El Al Company History | accessdate=2007-05-27 | publisher=Answers.com Premium Partner]

The airline was incorporated and became Israel's official carrier on 15 November 1948, although it used borrowed aircraft until February 1949, when two unpressurized DC-4s were purchased from American Airlines. The acquisition was funded by the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency, and other Jewish organizations. The first plane arrived at Lod Airport on 3 April 1949. Aryeh Pincus, a lawyer from South Africa, was elected head of the company. The first international flight, from Tel Aviv to Paris (refueling in Rome), took place on 31 July 1949. [citeweb | url=http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/13400/edition_id/259/format/html/displaystory.html | title=El Al flies to rescue throughout the world | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Jewish News Weekly of Northern California|last=Kanon|first=Sharon|date=2000-04-07] By the end of 1949, the airline had flown passengers to London and Johannesburg. A regular service to London was inaugurated in the middle of 1950. Later that year, El Al acquired Universal Airways, which was owned by South African Zionists. A state-run domestic airline, Israel Inland Airlines, was founded in which El Al had a 50% stake.

El Al's cargo service was inaugurated in 1950 and initially relied on military surplus C-46 aircraft. The same year the airline initiated charter services to the USA, followed by scheduled flights soon afterwards. From its earliest days the operation of the airline in keeping with Jewish tradition has been a source of friction; when the Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion was forming his first coalition, the religious parties would not join unless Ben Gurion promised that El Al would serve only kosher food on its flights and would not fly on the Jewish Sabbath.citeweb | url=http://web.archive.org/web/20010222124207/http://www.jewishgates.org/history/modhis/elal.stm | title=El-Al, Israel's Airline | accessdate=2007-05-27 | publisher=Gates of Jewish Heritage]

As the national carrier, the airline was involved in several covert operations. In the early 1950s, El Al airlifted over 160,000 immigrants to Israel from India, Iran, Iraq and Yemen as part of Operation Magic Carpet and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah. In 1960, Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured and flown from Argentina to Israel on an El Al aircraft. [cite news| url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,874118-2,00.html | title=The Beast in Chains | publisher=Time Magazine | date=1960-06-06| accessdate=2007-06-20]

In 1955, after using Lockheed Constellations for several years, the airline purchased two Bristol Britannia aircraft. El Al was the second airline in the world to fly this plane, after the British Overseas Airways Corporation. In 1958, El Al ran a newspaper advertisement in the US featuring a picture of a "shrunken" Atlantic Ocean ("Starting Dec. 23, the Atlantic Ocean will be 20% smaller") to promote its non-stop transatlantic flights.cite news| url=http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:uff0IpxEuXsJ:www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,937575,00.html%3Fiid%3Dchix-sphere+%22el+al%22+advertisement+1958&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&client=firefox-a | title=Adman's Adman | accessdate=2007-05-28 | publisher=Time Magazine| date=1958-03-31] This was a bold step: the airline industry had never used images of the ocean in its advertising because of the widespread public fear of airline crashes. The advertisement, which ran only once, proved effective. Within a year, El Al's sales tripled. [Citeweb | url=http://www.ciadvertising.org/studies/student/98_fall/theory/weirtz/doyle.htm | title=Doyle Dane Bernbach | accessdate=2007-05-28]

Expansion in the 1960s

Despite the purchase of its Britannias and inauguration of non-stop transatlantic flights the airline remained unprofitable. When Efraim Ben-Arzi took over the company in the late 1950s, the Britannias were replaced by de Havilland Comet 4, Boeing 707, and Douglas DC-8 jets. The first year that El Al turned a profit was 1960. That year, more than 50 percent of the passengers flying into Israel arrived on El Al flights. On 15 June 1961, the airline set a world record for the longest non-stop commercial flight: an El Al Boeing 707 flew from Tel Aviv to New York, covering convert|5760|nmi|km|0 in 9 hours and 33 minutes.By this time El Al was carrying 56,000 passengers a year - on a par with Qantas and ahead of established airlines like Loftleidir. In 1961, El Al ranked 35th in the world in the number of accumulated passenger miles. [citeweb | url=http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Commercial_Aviation/ElAl/Tran25.htm | title=El Al, the Israeli Airline | accessdate=2007-05-28 | publisher=US Centennial of Flight] El Al's success continued into the late 1960s. In 1968, regular flights to Bucharest were inaugurated, and cargo flights began to Europe and the USA. The airline also established a catering subsidiary, Teshet Tourism and Aviation Services Ltd. All these ventures brought in a profit of $2 million that year.

Hijacking

In 1968, El Al experienced the first of many acts against the airline. On 23 July, the first and only successful hijacking of an El Al aircraft took place, when a 707 carrying 10 crew and 38 passengers was taken over by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The aircraft was en route from Rome to Lod. The hijackers diverted it to Algiers. Bargaining with the hijackers went on for 40 days. Both the hijackers and the passengers, including 21 Israeli hostages, were eventually freed. [citeweb | url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,942267-2,00.html | title=Drama of the Desert: The Week of the Hostages | date=1970-09-21|accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=TIME] On 26 December of the same year, two PFLP members attacked an El Al aircraft at Athens Airport, killing an Israeli mechanic. The Israeli Defense Forces responded on 29 December with a night-time raid on Lebanon's Beirut Airport, destroying 14 planes on the ground belonging to Middle East Airlines, Trans Mediterranean Airways and Lebanese International Airways.cite web
url=http://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?Country=OD
title=ASN Aviation Safety Database
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] On 18 February 1969, Palestinians attacked an El Al plane at Zurich Airport killing the copilot and injuring the pilot. One Palestinian attacker was killed and others were convicted but later released.cite book |last=Bard |first=Mitchell Geoffrey |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict |year= |publisher=Alpha Books |location= |isbn= ] Between September and December 1969, bomb and grenade attacks occurred at El Al offices in Athens, West Berlin, and Brussels. This wave of violence culminated in the failed hijacking of an El Al 707 by Patrick Arguello and Leila Khaled on 6 September 1970, as part of the Dawson's Field hijackings. [citeweb | url=http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=15456 | title=The Day a New Terrorism Was Born | date=2006-02-24|last=Tugend|first=Tom|accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Jewish Journal]

1970s and 1980s

El Al acquired its first Boeing 747 in 1971. Many felt it was a risky purchase, given the high cost of the plane and fear of attacks, but El Al operations flourished after the purchase. Another 747 was delivered in 1973 and was used to inaugurate non-stop service from Tel Aviv to New York. In the air for 13 hours, and flying against prevailing winds, it was recorded as the longest commercial flight in the world.

In the mid-1970s, El Al began to schedule flights from airports outside of Israel that departed on the Jewish sabbath and landed in Israel after it had finished. The religious parties in the government claimed that this was a violation of Jewish law and contrary to the agreement signed in the early days of the state, in which El Al promised to refrain from flying on the sabbath. In 1981, the newly re-elected prime minister Menachem Begin, promised to abide by the agreement. Outraged, the secular community threatened to boycott the airline. In August 1982, El Al workers blocked Orthodox and Hassidic Jews from entering the airport.

In 1977, El Al established a charter subsidiary then known as El Al Charter Services Ltd., but later renamed Sun D'Or International Airlines Ltd. Two years earlier, the airline had suffered its first losses since the late 1950s, largely a product of the global recession. The management changed three times towards the end of the 1970s, until Itzhak Shander was named president. As the political situation in Iran deteriorated, El Al began to airlift Jews to Israel. All the airline's infrastructure in Iran was eventually destroyed.El Al flights to Cairo were inaugurated in April 1980, following the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In late 1982, after a long period of labor disputes and strikes, El Al operations were suspended. The government appointed Amram Blum to run the company, which lost $123.3 million in the fiscal year ending April 1983. The airline also sold its stake in Arkia at this time. [Citeweb | url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/sde_dov.htm | title=Sde Dov/Tel Aviv | accessdate=2007-05-27 | publisher=Global Security]

Operations resumed in January 1983 under receivership. The government purchased two new Boeing 737 aircraft and announced plans to acquire four Boeing 767 jets at the cost of $200 million. Within four years, El Al was profitable again. It broke another record, since then surpassed, in May 1988 with a non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, a journey of convert|7000|nmi|km|-2 in 13 hours and 41 minutes. Flights to Poland and Yugoslavia were inaugurated in 1989.

1990s and early 2000s

In January 1990, North American Airlines began providing feeder services in the US to El Al gateways. El Al held a 24.9 percent stake in the airline until selling it back to Dan McKinnon in July 2003. By this time, El Al was operating a fleet of 20 aircraft, including nine Boeing 747s, and had begun replacing its aging Boeing 707s with the Boeing 757. Early that year, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, El Al inaugurated regular flights to Moscow. No airlifts from the former Soviet Union were possible at the time but permission was granted in 1991. Charter flights commenced in August 1991, with immigrants also occupying all available seats on El Al's scheduled routes. In cooperation with Aeroflot, El Al flew more than 400,000 Jewish immigrants to Israel within a three year period. [cite news
title= El Al flies olim on first direct charter
publisher=The Jerusalem Post
url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/99706558.html?dids=99706558:99706558&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Nov+28%2C+1991&author=HERB+KEINON&pub=Jerusalem+Post&edition=&startpage=14&desc=EL+AL+FLIES+OLIM+ON+FIRST+DIRECT+CHARTER
date= 1991-11-28
accessdate=2007-05-31
first=Herb
last=Keinin
]

On 24 May 1991, an El Al Boeing 747 cargo plane airlifted a record-breaking 1,087 Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa to Israel in the framework of Operation Solomon. Two babies were born during the flight. The plane carried twice as many passengers as it was designed for. [citeweb | url=http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110426/records/records1.html | title=Aviation World Records | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Think Quest] In less than 36 hours, a total of 14,500 Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE2DD1E3CF935A15756C0A967958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all Ethiopian Jews and Israelis Exult as Airlift Is Completed - New York Times ] ]

El Al flights were inaugurated to the Far East and, in 1995, El Al signed its first codesharing agreement with American Airlines. In February 1995, the receivership under which the airline had technically been operating since 1982 came to an end. [citeweb | url=http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/3508/edition_id/62/format/html/displaystory.html | title=El Al Airlines posts $15 million profits | accessdate=2007-05-07| date=1996-04-26 | publisher=Jewish Bulletin Online] In June 1996, El Al recorded another milestone: its first flight from Israel to Amman, Jordan.

In 1996, El Al recorded $83.1 million in losses, due to the resumption of terrorist activities and the government's open-skies policy. To keep its planes flying during this period, El Al introduced flights "to nowhere": passengers were offered various kinds of in-flight entertainment as the plane circled the Mediterranean. One-day shopping trips to London and visits to religious sites in eastern Europe were also promoted.

In 1997, El Al opened a separate cargo division. [citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/ELALCargo/ | title=El Al Cargo Profile | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=El Al] El Al's first Boeing 777 embarked on its maiden flight in March 2000. Later that year the controversy over flights on Shabbat erupted again, when the airline announced that it was losing $55 million a year by grounding its planes on Saturdays. After the first phase of the long-delayed privatization of the company commenced in June 2003 and 15 percent of El Al's shares were listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange the policy regarding sabbath flights was expected to change.

In 2004 Knafaim-Arkia Holdings, the parent company of Arkia Israel Airlines, acquired a large stake in Arkia and intended to seek full ownership. However, due to Israeli anti-trust laws, Knafaim-Arkia was forced to sell its shares. cite news
url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=692866
title=Arkia-Nakash deal to close today
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El Al today

As of 2007, the company employs 5,417 staff globally and has a fleet of over 30 aircraft. [citeweb | url=http://www.actionbase.com/userFiles/caseStudies1_file.PDF | title=ActionBase Implementation - A Case Study | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Action Base] During 2005 the airline transported 3.5 million passengers, a rise from 3.2 million in 2004 and 2.8 million in 2003. [cite web
last =
first =
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title =Financial Data
work =
publisher =El Al
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url =http://www.elal.com/ELAL/English/AboutElAl/FinancialData.htm
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accessdate =2007-06-23
] 60% of the airline's passengers are Israeli.Cite journal | url=http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/02/11/221434/israel-special-flag-carrier-el-al-thrives-despite-high-fuel-costs-and-competition.html | title=Israel special - Flag carrier El Al thrives despite high fuel costs and competition | date=2008-02-11 | work=Flight International | accessdate=2008-02-23] In 2006, El Al posted a $44.6 million dollar loss on revenues of $1.665 billion. [http://www.standardpoors.co.il/companies.asp?pageID=2&CleanFormat=0&companyID=118&section=4&FDTab=1 Standard & Poor's El Al Income Statement Data] ] The company is facing four lawsuits, two of which have been approved as class actions, that could potentially cost the company a total of $176.2 million. [cite news|last=Blumenkratz|first=Zohar|title=What irks El Al passengers|work=Haaretz|url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ArticleContent.jhtml?itemNo=868289|date=2007-06-07|accessdate=2007-06-19] El Al spends $100 million a year to conform with the airline security measures required by Israel's Shin Bet security service. [cite news
first = Ora
last = Coren
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title = Business in Brief- Transport minister: El Al to be compensated for surrendering its monopoly
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] In early 2007, El Al opened a new King David Lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. New lounges at Heathrow airport in London and JFK International airport in New York were expected to open in late 2007. [citeweb | url=http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3352956,00.html | title=El Al opens King David lounge in Paris | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Ynet News |date=2007-01-16|last= Zimmerman|first=Dana]

In 2007, El Al invested NIS 1 billion in the purchase of two new Boeing 777-200s that included an updated El Al decal. The aircraft are fitted with upgraded seats with adjustable hedrests and legrests. Each seat is equipped with a touch-screen entertainment system. The first aircraft, named "Sderot", completed its maiden voyage from New York to Tel Aviv on 26 July 2007. The second, "Kiryat Shmona", was delivered at the end of August 2007. [cite web | title=El-Al Adds Flights and Improves its Flight Schedule| url=http://www.tour-guides.co.il/itg/article.php?id=74| publisher=itg-Israel's travel guide| date=2007-09-17| accessdate=2007-10-20] [cite web| title=El Al's Ace in the Hat: The Boeing 777| url=http://www.infolive.tv/en/infolive.tv-10224-israelnews-el-als-ace-hat-boeing-777| publisher=infolive.tv| date=2007-07-31| accessdate=2007-10-20] As of March 2007, El Al's major shareholders are Knafaim Holdings (42%), the State of Israel (13%), and the Employee Union (8%).citeweb | url=http://maya.tase.co.il/bursa/report.asp?report_cd=266295 | title=El Al Shareholders | language=Hebrew | accessdate=2007-06-02 | publisher=Tel Aviv Stock Exchange]

El Al security

As a target for many decades, El Al employs stringent security procedures, both on the ground and on board its aircraft. These effective, though sometimes controversial, procedures have won El Al a reputation for security. [cite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/10/01/elal-usat.htm | title= Unfriendly skies are no match for El Al | date=2001-01-10| last=Walt| first=Vivienne| accessdate=2007-04-29| publisher=USA Today] In 2008, the airline was named by Global Traveler Magazine as the world's most secure airline. [citeweb | url=http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1202246330526&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull | title=EL AL named most secure airline | date=2008-02-06 | accessdate=2008-02-06 | publisher=Jerusalem Post]

Airport security measures

Passengers are asked to report three hours before departure. All El Al terminals around the world are closely monitored for security. There are plain-clothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel who patrol the premises for explosives, suspicious behavior, and other threats. Inside the terminal, passengers and their baggage are checked by a trained team. El Al security procedures require that all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding, allowing El Al staff to identify possible security threats. Passengers will be asked questions about where they are coming from, the reason for their trip, their job or occupation, and whether they have packed their bags themselves. The likelihood of potential terrorists remaining calm under such questioning is believed to be low (see also "Microexpression"). [cite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2001/09/12/israelisecurity.htm | title=Israeli-style security might have averted hijackings | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=USA Today| date=2001-09-13] At the check-in counter the passengers' passports and tickets are closely examined. A ticket without a sticker from the security checkers will not be accepted. At passport control passengers' names are checked against information from the FBI, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Scotland Yard, Shin Bet, and Interpol databases. Luggage is screened and sometimes hand searched. In addition, bags are put through a decompression chamber simulating pressures during flight that could trigger explosives. [cite web | url=http://www.segl.com/xj.php | title=El Al Decompression Chamber | accessdate=2006-07-18 | publisher=Simcoe Engineering Group Limited] El Al is the only airline in the world that passes all luggage through such a chamber. [citeweb | url=http://www.israelinsider.com/channels/security/articles/sec_0108.htm | title=El Al's legendary security measures set industry standards | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Israel Insider | date=2001-10-03] Even at overseas airports, El Al security agents conduct all luggage searches personally, even if they are supervised by government or private security firms. [cite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2006-05-12-el-al-security_x.htm | title=El Al wants to do own bag screening at Newark | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=USA Today | date=2006-05-12]

Flight security measures

Undercover agents (sometimes referred to as sky marshals) carrying concealed firearms sit amongst the passengers on every international El Al flight. [cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2097352.stm | title=El Al sets security standards | date=2002-07-05| accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=BBC News] Most El Al pilots are former Israeli Air Force pilots. cite news| url=http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/09/26/rec.el.al.security | title=Model for air travel security may be El Al | date=2001-09-26| accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=CNN]

The cockpits in all El Al aircraft have double doors to prevent entry by unauthorized persons. A code is required to access the doors, and the second door will only be opened after the first has closed and the person has been identified by the Captain or First Officer. Furthermore, there are reinforced steel floors separating the passenger cabin from the baggage hold. [cite news | url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10396216 | title=Flying under the eagle eyes of El Al's famed high security | accessdate=2006-08-15 | publisher=New Zealand Herald|last=Silver |first=Eric| date=2006-08-15] This is intended to strengthen the plane in case of an explosion.

Following an attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in 2002, [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2552097.stm|title=Kenyan police find Mombasa missiles|publisher=BBC News|date=2002-12-06] all aircraft in the fleet have been equipped with an infrared countermeasures system called 'Flight Guard', developed by Israeli Aerospace Industries to defend them against anti-aircraft missiles. [cite news|last=Vause|first=John|title=Missile defense for El Al fleet|publisher=CNN|date= 24 May 2004|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/05/24/air.defense/|accessdate=2007-11-30] [cite news|last=WILLIAMS|first=DAN|title=El Al Fits Fleet with Anti-Missile System|publisher=Reuters|date=02/16/06 18:10|url=http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1540304&C=airwar|accessdate=2007-11-30] [cite news|url=http://www.iai.co.il/Default.aspx?docID=25873&FolderID=28973&lang=en&PageNum=3|title=IAI/Elta's "Flight Guard" Commercial Aircraft Protection System Funded|date=2003-09-08|publisher=Israeli Aerospace Industries] Although comparable systems such as CAMPS are now available for civilian aircraft, there is no information to date about any other airlines deploying such a system. Switzerland and other European countries have expressed concern that flares dropped by the Israeli system could cause fires in the vicinity of an airport. [cite web | url=http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3221013,00.html | title=Europe objects to El Al's anti-missile shield | accessdate=2006-11-12 | last=Beck | first=Eldad| date=2006-02-26| publisher=Ynetnews] However none of the higher risk countries that the El Al aircraft fly to have raised any concerns.

Security controversy and passenger profiling

Critics of El Al note that its security checks on passengers include racial profilingcite web | url=http://www.no-racism.org/arabic/data/publications/AirportReportEnglish.pdf | title=Suspected Citizens: Racial Profiling Against Arab Passengers by Israeli Airlines and Airports | last=Tarek |first=Ibrahim|year=2006| month=December |accessdate=2007-03-01] and have argued that such profiling is unfair, irrational, and degrading to those subject to such screening. Supporters of El Al argue that there is nothing inherently racist about passenger profiling and that special scrutiny of Muslims may often be necessary for security purposes.

The airline was also criticised by the Hungarian courts for refusing to search luggage with the passenger present, acting against Hungarian domestic laws which stipulate that only authorized officials are able to undertake such searches. A civil case was brought to Israel's Supreme Court on 19 March 2008 alleging that El Al's practice of ethnic profiling singles out Arabs for tougher treatment. [ [http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8VGOUA00&show_article=1 Israeli Airport Security Challenged] ]

Destinations

El Al serves destinations on four continents with a well-developed European network that also takes in important cities in Russia, the Baltic region and CIS member states. The airline serves a number of gateway cities in North America and has expanded its service to cover central and southeast Asia and the Far East while retaining its limited coverage of Africa. [citeweb | url=http://www.airlineroutemaps.com/West_Asia/El_Al_europe.shtml | title=El Al European Route Map|accessdate=2007-05-07|publisher=Airline Route Maps] [citeweb|url=http://www.airlineroutemaps.com/West_Asia/El_Al_international.shtml|title=El Al Worldwide Route Map|accessdate=2007-05-07|publisher=Airline Route Maps] El Al service to its African and Asian destinations is complicated by the on-going refusal of neighbouring Arab nations, most importantly Saudi Arabia, to grant the Israeli flag carrier over-flight permission. The necessary re-routing of long-haul flights thus adds as much as ninety minutes to overall journey times. In recent years, this situation has seen improvements in the wake of bilateral air transport agreements concluded with Cyprus, Egypt and Jordan. In late 2007, the airline announced plans to launch service to Tokyo, Shanghai and one or two South American cities. [citeweb | url=www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=2&cid=1195036615394&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull |title=Up, up and away | publisher=Jerusalem Post | date=2007-11-15 | accessdate-2007-11-18] [citeweb | url=http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/DocView.asp?did=1000269411&fid=1725 | title=El Al applies for northern flights | date=2007-10-30 | publisher=Globes | accessdate=2007-11-18] As of April 2008, the El Al network reached a total of 45 destinations including 31 in Europe, 7 in Asia, 5 in North America and 2 in Africa.

Fleet

El Al has an all-Boeing fleet which consists of the following aircraft: [citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/AboutElAl/OurFleet.htm | title=Israel Travel - Our Fleet | accessdate=2008-01-18]
*First Class offered on aircraft with a three-class seating configuration.



Fleet expansion

El Al currently have the following aircraft on order:
*4 Boeing 737-800 aircraft to be leased for delivery in summer 2008 to early 2009. [cite news| url=http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000311735&fid=1725 | title=El Al adds 3 new planes | date=2008-02-19 | work=Globes | accessdate=2008-02-19]
*1 Boeing 747-400 aircraft to be purchased from Singapore Airlines for delivery in November 2008.
*4 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft for delivery in 2012. [cite news| url=http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssIndustryMaterialsUtilitiesNews/idUSL1614330620080316 | title=Israel's El Al buys 4 Boeing 777s for $540 million| date=2008-03-16 | work=Reuters| accessdate=2008-03-16]

El Al will soon withdraw its two non-ER 767-200s.

There is speculation over the airline acquiring the following aircraft:
*In May 2007, it was announced that El Al reached an agreement to lease six or seven aircraft from Boeing between 2011 and 2015 after canceling its option to buy eight Boeing 787 aircraft. It is unclear what model these aircraft will be. [cite news | url=http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/DocView.asp?did=1000208163&fid=1725 | title=El Al, Boeing close to plane lease deal for 2011-15 | publisher=Globes | last=Tal| first=Dalia | date=2007-05-03 |accessdate=2007-05-05]
*In July 2007, it was announced that the airline had re-entered negotiations to purchase two 787s. [citeweb | url=http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/DocView.asp?did=1000229503&fid=1725 | title=El Al to buy 2 Boeing 787s | date=2007-07-08 | accessdate=2007-07-09 | publisher=Globes | last=Tal | first=Dalia] Boeing is trying to resurrect the 787 deal. [cite news| url=http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380803707&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull| title=Boeing to El Al: Revive Dreamliner purchase plans| author=Jonathan Ferziger, Bloomberg| publisher=The Jerusalem Post| date=13 November 2007| accessdate=2007-11-13]
*Despite having talks with Airbus over aircraft, El Al stated in early 2008 that it plans to rationalize its long-haul aircraft around the 777 or 787. Having said this, CEO Haim Romano did not rule out the A350, saying that they would consider it if Airbus came up with "the right proposition."

Matmid

Matmid is El Al's frequent flyer program. It was launched in 2004 following the merger of El Al's previous frequent flyer programs. Matmid has four tiers: Matmid, Matmid Silver, Matmid Gold, and Matmid Platinum. Points accumulated in the program entitle members to bonus tickets, flight upgrades, and discounts on car rentals, hotel stays, and other products and services. Points are also awarded for travel with partner airlines, as well as for nights at partner hotels and for credit card purchases. [citeweb | url=http://www.superstar.de/flyer/News/New%20Matmid%20Club%20Broschure.pdf | title=Matmid Club | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Superstar Travel]

Partnerships

Matmid points can be collected on most flights operated by: [citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/MatmidFrequentFlyer/BenefitsFromELALPartners/Airlines/AeroMexico.htm | title=El Al Partner Airlines | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=El Al]

*American Airlines and American Eagle
*South African Airways
*Sun D'Or
*Qantas

Some flights operated by the following airlines qualify for points:

*Aeroméxico flights from Madrid, Miami, New York, and Paris, to Mexico City

Points can also be collected on El Al's codeshare flights.

King David Lounge

The King David Lounge is the name adopted by El Al for special airport lounges, which serve the airline's premium class passengers. In total, there are five King David Lounges worldwide at key airports such as Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Paris-CDG, New York City-JFK International, London-Heathrow, and Los Angeles-International. [citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/MatmidFrequentFlyer/AboutTheClub/KingDavidClub.htm | title=El Al King David Lounge | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=El Al]

All King David Lounges offer drinks, snacks, newspapers and magazines (Israeli and foreign), while some lounges also offer free Wi-Fi internet access. The King David Lounge at Terminal 3 at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion airport has a separate section for first-class passengers, eqipped with telephone and shower facilities and a spa. [citeweb | url=http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/AllAboutYourFlight/PremiumClasses/FirstClass/kingDavidLounge.htm | title=El Al King David Lounge Spa | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=El Al]

Codeshare agreements

As of July 2008, El Al has the following codeshare partners: [citeweb|url=http://www.elal.co.il/elal/english/aboutelal/codeshare|title=El Al Codeshare Partners|accessdate=2007-05-07|publisher=El Al]

* Aerosvit Airlines
* American Airlines
* Austrian Airlines
* Brussels Airlines
* Bulgaria Air
* Cyprus Airways
* Iberia Airlines
* Lot Polish Airlines
* Qantas
* South African Airways
* Swiss International Air Lines
* Tandem Aero
* Thai Airways International

It was announced in December 2007, that El Al would start a large code-sharing agreement with American Airlines in early 2008 following the cancellation of codeshare agreements between Delta and El Al as a result of Delta's launch of non-stop service between New York (JFK) and Tel Aviv, competing directly with El Al. [citeweb | url=http://news.cheapflights.com/airlines/2007/12/american-airlin.html | title=American Airlines code share to open up Israel | publisher=Cheapflights | accessdate=2007-12-05 | date=2007-12-05]

Cargo

El Al has a cargo branch, El Al Cargo, which became independent in 1997. As the national cargo airline of Israel, it operates to destinations in Asia, Europe and North America. Before 2001, when the Israeli air cargo market opened up to competition, El Al Cargo enjoyed a monopoly. Now its main competition comes from CAL Cargo Air Lines.

Livery

El Al's historic - now superseded - livery featured a turquoise/navy blue stripe down the side of the aircraft, and a turquoise tailfin with the flag of Israel at the top. El Al's logo was featured above the front run of windows on each side of the plane in the turquoise/navy scheme. [citeweb | url=http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1166039&WxsIERv=Obrvat%20757-258&Wm=0&WdsYXMg=Ry%20Ny%20Vfenry%20Nveyvarf&QtODMg=Zvyna%20-%20Znycrafn%20%28ZKC%20%2F%20YVZP%29&ERDLTkt=Vgnyl&ktODMp=Qrprzore%2024%2C%202006&BP=0&WNEb25u=Raevpb%20Cvreboba%20FcbgVG&xsIERvdWdsY=4K-ROG&MgTUQtODMgKE=&YXMgTUQtODMgKERD=973&NEb25uZWxs=2007-01-22%2021%3A01%3A02&ODJ9dvCE=&O89Dcjdg=25036%2F356&static=yes&width=1024&height=694&sok=JURER%20%20%28nvepensg_trarevp%20YVXR%20%27Obrvat%20757%25%27%29%20NAQ%20%28nveyvar%20YVXR%20%27Ry%20Ny%20Vfenry%20Nveyvarf%25%27%29%20%20BEQRE%20OL%20cubgb_vq%20QRFP&photo_nr=10&prev_id=1174285&next_id=1164049 | title=El Al Superseded Livery | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Airliners.net] The new livery features a blue stripe with a thick silver border on the bottom that sweeps across the side of the aircraft near the wing, disappears over the top of the plane and reappears at the bottom of the tailfin. The El Al logo is part of the design, although it has been changed slightly since then. [citeweb | url=http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1206451&WxsIERv=Obrvat%20777-258%2FRE&Wm=0&WdsYXMg=Ry%20Ny%20Vfenry%20Nveyvarf&QtODMg=Ybf%20Natryrf%20-%20Vagreangvbany%20%28YNK%20%2F%20XYNK%29&ERDLTkt=HFN%20-%20Pnyvsbeavn&ktODMp=Sroehnel%204%2C%202007&BP=1&WNEb25u=Fabeer%20-%20INC&xsIERvdWdsY=4K-RPP&MgTUQtODMgKE=&YXMgTUQtODMgKERD=732&NEb25uZWxs=2007-05-05%2023%3A30%3A37&ODJ9dvCE=&O89Dcjdg=30833%2F335&static=yes&width=1000&height=678&sok=JURER%20%20%28nveyvar%20%3D%20%27Ry%20Ny%20Vfenry%20Nveyvarf%27%29%20%20BEQRE%20OL%20cubgb_vq%20QRFP&photo_nr=2&prev_id=1206782&next_id=1205415 | title=El Al New Livery | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Airliners.net]

Incidents and accidents

*On 5 February 1950, one of El Al's DC-4s was damaged when it veered off the runway during take-off from Tel Aviv. There were no casualties. [cite web
url=http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19500205-1
title=ASN Aircraft accident description Douglas C-54A-10-DC 4X-ACD - Lydda Airport (TLV)
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*On 24 November 1951, a DC-4 on a cargo flight from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam crashed on approach to Zürich Airport, killing 6 crew members. [cite web
url=http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19511124-0
title=ASN Aircraft accident description Douglas DC-4 4X-ADN - Zürich-Kloten
accessdate=2007-05-29
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*On 27 July 1955, a Lockheed Constellation operating El Al Flight 402, was shot down near Sofia, Bulgaria after it strayed into Bulgarian airspace in rough weather. All 58 passengers and crew were killed. [cite news|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,807400,00.html|publisher=Time Magazine|date=1955-08-08|title=Through the Curtain|accessdate=2007-05-23] [cite web
url=http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19550727-0
title=ASN Aircraft accident description Lockheed L-149 Constellation 4X-AKC - Petrich
accessdate=2007-05-29
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] [cite news
first = Yossi
last = Melman
authorlink =
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title = An investigation behind bars
url =http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/pages/ShArtStEngPE.jhtml?itemNo=886367
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*On 23 July 1968, El Al flight 426 operated by a Boeing 707 on route from London to Tel Aviv via Rome, was hijacked by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine shortly after take-off from Rome-Fiumicino airport and forcefully diverted to Algiers. The hijacking ended after 40 days and is considered to be the only successful hijacking involving an El Al jet.

*In February, 1969, an El Al Boeing 707 was attacked at Zurich airport. An Israeli trainee pilot was killed, with another eight people being wounded. In a firefight involving security personnel, one terrorist was killed, while the others were arrested. The terrorists were later put on trial in Winterthur / Switzerland but released following the hijacking of a Swissair aircraft one year later. [citeweb | url=http://www.idéesuisse.ch/252.0.html?&no_cache=1&L=0&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1636&tx_ttnews%5Blist%5D=182%2C267%2C87%2C1636%2C509 | title=El Al hijack | accessdate=2008-01-20]

*On 27 December 1985, after several failed attempts to attack El Al aircraft, guerrillas of the Fatah Revolutionary Council attacked El Al ticket counters at Rome-Fiumicino and Vienna-Schwechat airports, killing 18 people.citeweb | url=http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/425822/113967 | title=A history of El Al incidents | accessdate=2007-05-28 | publisher=One News]

*Another terrorist attack was foiled on 18 April 1986 in what became known as the Hindawi Affair. A pregnant Irish woman named Anne Mary Murphy was about to board an El Al flight at London's Heathrow airport when her bag was found to contain three pounds of plastic explosives. These had been planted by her fiancé Nezar Hindawi who was booked on a different flight. Hindawi was jailed for 45 years, the longest sentence ever delivered by a British court. [cite news | url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article493799.ece | title=El Al bomber too dangerous to release, court rules| publisher=Times Online|date=2004-10-13|last=Booth|first=Jenny|quote=His sentence of 45 years is believed to be the longest specific jail term ever imposed by an English court.|accessdate=2007-05-23] There was evidence that Syrian officials were involved and as a result, Britain cut off diplomatic relations with Syria. [citeweb | url=http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1064 | title=Terrorism: The Syrian Connection | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Daniel Pipes]

*On 4 October 1992, El Al Flight 1862 operated by a Boeing 747-200F cargo plane, crashed into the Groeneveen and Klein-Kluitberg flats in Bijlmermeer, a neighborhood of Amsterdam. The three crew members, one passenger, and 39 people on the ground were killed. [citeweb | url=http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19921004-2 | title=Accident description El Al 1862 | accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Aviation Safety]

*On 4 July 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet shot six Israelis at El Al's ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport before he was shot and killed by an El Al security guard. [cite news| title=Los Angeles airport shooting kills 3| url=http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/07/04/la.airport.shooting/| date=2002-07-05| publisher=CNN| accessdate=2007-05-28] Two of the victims died. Although not linked to any terrorist group, Hadayet, an Egyptian, espoused anti-Israeli views and was opposed to US policy in the Middle East. [cite news| url=http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/West/04/12/airport.shooting/ | title=FBI, Justice: El Al attack was terrorism | date=2003-04-12| accessdate=2007-04-29 | publisher=CNN] The US Federal Bureau of Investigation classified the shooting as a terrorist act, one of the few on US soil since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

*On 17 November 2002, Tawfiq Fukra, a twenty-three-year-old Israeli Arab, attempted to hijack an El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul. He was reportedly armed with a pocket knife, and attempted to break into the cockpit in order to fly the aircraft back to Israel and crash it into a building. He was apprehended by on-board security personnel.cite news
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2486935.stm
title=Passengers recall El Al 'hijack' terror
accessdate=2007-05-30
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] Fukra has denied the charges.cite news
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F06E0D61738F934A15752C1A9649C8B63&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fH%2fHijacking
title=Man Denies Trying To Hijack El Al Plane
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last=Fisher
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url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=633793
title= El Al hijacker released to house arrest
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first=Eli
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*On 23 October 2003, an El Al Boeing 767 flying from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles via Toronto was diverted to Montreal-Mirabel International Airport and onward to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport in Hamilton, Ontario, where Royal Canadian Mounted Police tactical teams were on the ready. The diversion was the result of a "grave security threat", possibly a planned surface-to-air missile attack on the aircraft upon landing in Toronto. [cite web | url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2003/10/26/pearson_elal031026.html | title=Israeli Flight Lands in Toronto| accessdate=2008-03-11 | publisher=CBC News| date=2003-10-27]

*In 2006, the office of the Attorney General of Switzerland reported that seven North Africans had been arrested in connection with a conspiracy to blow up an unspecified El Al aircraft in flight in December 2005. [cite news | url=http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1145961375334 | title=Plot to down El Al jet in Geneva foiled | date=2006-05-19| accessdate=2007-05-07 | publisher=Jerusalem Post] At the time of the arrest, El Al's flights between Tel Aviv and London flew over the Geneva area where a ground-to-air missile had been discovered. [cite news|publisher=BBC News|title=Swiss 'foiled hit on Israeli jet'|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5060936.stm|date=2006-06-08]

References

See also

*Sun D'Or International Airlines

External links

* [http://www.elal.co.il/ELAL/English/States/General El Al official website]


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