El Al Airlines reveals Q2 cargo spike

Cargo revenues for El Al Airlines grew 6 percent in the second quarter of 2011, reaching $51.3 million. Representatives for the Israeli carrier say this number is even more impressive considering the 47-percent increase in the cost of fuel and the 2-percent drop in tonnage routing through Ben Gurion International Airport.

El Al Airlines President and CEO Elyezer Shkedy said measures to offset the fuel-related expenses — one of which was scrutinizing the carrier’s flight network — helped his company stay profitable in the second quarter.

In August, the carrier took this approach one step further and closed its route to Sao Paulo. Doing so enables El Al to utilize its Boeing 777s on more-profitable routes, Shkedy explained. “We are also planning to remove aircraft that are considered fuel-inefficient from service and add winglets to the wing tips of other aircraft,” he said in a statement. “These steps reflect our efforts to reduce costs and to maximize fuel-efficiency.”

Reducing costs is also a high priority to El Al Vice President of Finance Nissim Malki. In addition to crediting the Israel carrier with maintaining a positive cash flow in the second quarter, Malki revealed that El Al’s cash balance exceeded $174 million. Gross profit wasn’t so lucky, however, falling 41 percent from 2010 levels.

Nevertheless, Malki projects that these numbers will only grow as El Al employs new cost-cutting techniques. “We continue to implement wide-ranging and far-reaching plans to make the company more efficient and to reduce expenditures,” he said in a statement.

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