El Al Source: Airline Using Airbus Offer to Pressure Boeing

A senior El Al source has cast doubt on the possibility of El Al buying Airbus, rather than Boeing, airplanes. El Al began examining the offers which it received from the two manufacturers, which are competing for a contract to supply the company's planes in the future.

The senior source, who asked not to be identified, told TheMarker, "I don't believe that El Al will go for the Airbus planes. In my opinion, raising the possibility was just meant to apply more pressure on Boeing to improve its financial offer."

The source's comments contradict those of one of the owners of El Al last week to TheMarker, who said "We are leaning towards the Airbus offer."

According to the senior source, "The decision to go with Airbus would mean changing the entire maintenance system, the stores and tools, or build a very expensive new system. It would not be simple to introduce Airbus planes."

Airbus and Boeing are competing to supply planes that El Al would use in the long term.

Delegations from the two manufacturers have completed a series of visits to El Al, during which they presented their offers. Airbus offered the A-330 and the future A-350, while Boeing offered the new 787. The deal would encompass some 10 planes, and is expected to be worth some $500 million.

The El Al management said in response that "the company is conducting negotiations with the two companies. Other than that, the company will not comment on the matter at this preliminary stage."