TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — El Al, the national airline of Israel, has initiated a request for proposals from Airbus, Boeing, and several engine manufacturers in a bid to modernize its single-aisle fleet from 2025. 

Currently, El Al's single-aisle fleet consists solely of 24 Boeing 737-800s and -900ERs, with projections of expanding to 28-31 aircraft by 2028.

The airline's first-quarter financial report states that it is reviewing the received proposals. While Airbus jets have been adopted by other Israeli airlines such as Israir and Arkia, Airbus is yet to secure a deal with El Al.

The first quarter yielded an operating profit of $9 million for El Al, marking the first profit for this period since 2005. Despite a pre-tax loss of $26 million for the quarter, the deficit was substantially lower than the previous $73 million loss. The net loss also reduced by 50% to $34 million while revenues ascended to $500 million.

El Al's capacity during this period achieved 93% of the pre-crisis level of the first quarter of 2019. The operating expenses reached a total of $491.5 million, with fuel accounting for 27% of the cost.

The airline finalized a financial agreement for a Boeing 787-8, the final plane of the original 16 787s ordered by the carrier. The delivery of this aircraft, postponed several times, is slated for the third quarter of this year.

El Al will finance the JOLCO transaction through a foreign investment bank that will provide a $107 million loan. Additionally, it will pay $8 million in commission to the UK government’s export finance agency.

Recently, El Al seized an opportunity to purchase an additional 787, scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of the following year. The airline also mentioned the extension of an option with a foreign lessor, initially established in 2017, through which it could lease up to two 787-9s. If executed, El Al would acquire one aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2025 and another in the first quarter of 2026. This could potentially expand its fleet to 22 787s by 2028.

El Al is in the process of upgrading four Boeing 777-200ERs with 787-style cabins, aiming to operate these twinjets until they are retired. The airline plans to initiate services with the first refurbished 777 in the third quarter of this year.