Why Isn't El Al Flying to Eilat After All?

A total of 185,133 passengers, 43% more than 2009, flew on the Ben Gurion-Eilat route between January and April this year.

After fighting it out with Israir and Arkia for a share of the local market, it turns out that El Al isn't even able to fly to Eilat - due to a lack of planes.

To run a route from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Israel's southernmost city, El Al needs more Boeing 737s.

El Al already has received approval from the Israel Airports Authority to fly the route. Israir and Arkia have appealed to the High Court of Justice. Even if the latter rules in favor of El Al, the company won't be able to launch the route until October, when it is due to receive more planes.

'Executive salaries jumped without any connection to the financial results, which continued to deteriorate,' wrote Yaron Zelekha in his report on El Al's financial situation. Archive

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is in favor of adding El Al flights to the route, which would make it easier for foreign tourists to reach the Red Sea resort town.

El Al had been hoping to launch flights this summer. Company officials are scheduled to meet with Israel Airport Authority representatives about the route today.

A total of 185,133 passengers flew on the Ben Gurion-Eilat route between January and April this year, according to IAA figures. This is 43% more than during the same period in 2009.