Airbus Woos Israeli Airlines

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is offering unprecedented package deals to El Al, Israir and Arkia in an attempt to woo them away from American company Boeing, TheMarker has learned.

The three Israeli airlines are each separately comparing the offers of Boeing and Airbus as part of their short- and long-term programs to upgrade equipment. Each company is planning to invest $300 million to $500 million.

One of the benefits Airbus is offering concerns fuel consumption. High-ranking officials from the European manufacturer provided the airlines with exact calculations of projected fuel consumption and attendant fuel costs. Airbus is prepared to commit to these projections and pay Israeli companies fines if fuel costs exceeds them.

Moreover, Airbus is ready to buy back the planes at the end of a specific period of time, to be agreed upon between the companies in advance. The manufacturer is also willing to award generous support packages to train pilots and maintenance personnel.

Airbus wants the Israelis to purchase its A-330 model, which is readily available and in supply, as well as its forthcoming A-350 model. Boeing is offering its new 787 model.

El Al sources acknowledged that the airline is negotiating with both companies, but had no more comments to make.

Arkia commented: "The company is indeed looking to equip itself with planes as part of its new strategic plan."

Israir also acknowledged it is looking into several options.