El Al Announces 6.5% Ticket Price Hike Due to Higher Oil Costs

Company likely to increase gas surcharge of flights to U.S. by $40; Hike is ninth since April 2007.

El Al, Israel's national carrier, announced Monday it would hike airline ticket prices by an average of 6.5 percent and raise the supplementary gas charge beginning May 1, the ninth price increase announced by the company since April 2007. The move stems from the continued rise of jet fuel prices.

The company said the gas charge would rise by $15 for all short-range flights to destinations in the Mediterranean coastline region; $20 for medium-range flights to destinations including Europe; and $40 to long-distance destinations such as the United States, the Far East, and South America.

In addition, the average base charge of a ticket will climb by 6.5%. The company said the price hike will take effect on most incoming and outgoing flights. The cost of flights to some destinations will remain as is while trips to other destinations, such as Russia and Hungary, will be offered at a lower-than-usual cost. The price increases will not impact ticket purchases made before May 1.

"El Al is updating the prices of flights due to the rise in global gas prices and the rise in the price of a barrel of oil to $117," said Rami Levy, the deputy director-general of the company's commercial and aviation relations office.

"The rise in the price of oil means increasing expenditures on gasoline by 69 percent for long-distance flights as opposed to 40 percent two years ago," Levy said.

"Updating the prices is a necessary step in light of the absence of a fixed, price-updating mechanism, similar to what is custom with gas and electricity prices for automobiles," he said. "Even in the latest update, we managed to maintain competitive prices to many destinations, and we are the most attractive company for direct flights. The rise in gas prices is a negative development both for airlines and their customers. We constantly strive to keep the price increase to a minimum and we hope the trend will reverse itself."