El Al posts shrinking losses

EL Al Israel Airlines reduced its operating loss by 59 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 largely thanks to improving cargo revenues.

The airline reported an operating loss of US$14.7 million, but this was a significant improvement from the same quarter last year, which lost $61 million.

Net loss for the quarter was $16.5 million, compared with a $40 million loss last year and a $76 million loss for the entire of 2009. Revenues rose 21 per cent to $420.5 million.

The cost of fuel remain a problem however, being 52 per cent more expensive than a year ago. Hedging has allowed El Al to bring that down but it is still effectively paying 12.4 per cent more for fuel compared with a year earlier.

El Al’s chief executive officer, Yoram Shkedy, said: “We undertook a focused commercial strategy to improve revenue. The company continues to deal with competition, and achieved a market share of 40.2 per cent.”

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