El Al Israel Airlines posts $25 million profit for 2013; launches subsidiary UP

Israeli carrier El Al Airlines has reported a full-year net profit of $25.4 million for 2013, reversing the $18 million loss the airline posted in 2012.

El Al’s revenue increased 4.3% in 2013 to $2.2 billion as expenses for the year were up 3.1% to $1.8 billion, producing an operating profit for the year of $348.9 million, up 11.1%.

El Al’s 2013 passenger traffic grew 4.9% to 18.1 billion RPKs on a 4.4% increase in capacity to 21.8 billion ASKs, generating a load factor of 82.9% for the year, up 0.4 point from 2012. Total passengers segments in 2013 came to 4.4 million, up 4% from 2012.

Concluding the 2013 fourth-quarter, El Al posted a net loss of $3.7 million, a $22.5 million improvement on the $26.1 million loss in the year-ago quarter. Operating revenue for the quarter increased 7.6% year-over-year to $499 million; expenses grew 3.2% to $429.7 million, resulting in an operating profit of $69.3 million, up 46.2% from the 2012 December quarter.

In December, El Al announced the launch of its new low-cost carrier UP. “On March 30,” El Al’s outgoing president and CEO Elyezer Shkedy said, “five 737-800s [began] flying under the UP brand to Berlin, Budapest, Larnaca, Kiev and Prague.”

In October, El Al purchased eight Boeing 737-900s. Two were delivered that month; the third is due for delivery in March. The fourth aircraft is slated for delivery “before the coming summer season,” Shkedy said. “The other four will enter service with El Al by 2016.”

David Maimon took over as El Al Israel Airlines’ CEO March 19 following Shkedy’s retirement. Maimon was previously El Al’s VP-commercial and aviation ties, steering the company’s commercial and marketing policy unit.

Additionally, El Al’s CFO and VP-finance Nissim Malki reiterated his impending retirement after 41 years with the company. Malki will be succeeded by Dganit Palti.

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