It’s great news about the new EL AL flights to/ from Manchester! – what prompted the change?
We are expanding in Europe and we believe that the route has great potential as we see demands from both sides, being the local market’s increasing demand to visit Israel and the interest of the Israeli market to explore the north of England.
After so many years, it is great to be able to serve and accommodate again, our Jewish community in Manchester and the surrounding counties by giving them the choice to fly EL AL, their flag carrier, and to make them feel at home away from home.
We’re packing our bags…can we book flights from Manchester today?
Yes, it was already in the system as soon as we announced the launch of the route at World Travel Market in London in November 2018.
Manchester Airport is currently undergoing a £1 billion upgrade and is the largest airport outside London.
The £1 billion transformation is going to transform Terminal 2 to become the focal point of their operations. It will give Manchester airport the capacity to continue to grow and provide a modern, excellent airport experience for their passengers and airline partners. We are excited to see the developments first hand and be a part of the airlines flying from this airport.
For me, it is interesting to travel regularly to the north, the home to lots of great cities- Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and York and it provides great access to the Lake District and Yorkshire Moors. It is an exciting opportunity to familiarise with the people, the beautiful landscapes and our travel partners and in return, to spread awareness of our new service from Manchester and to ensure we offer the ground service our passengers expect from us.
How did you get involved with the airline?
I joined EL AL immediately after my military service as a check-in agent and grew within the company. In the last eight years, I have been the managing director for the Central Europe and Africa region for the company from Italy and in the last three years I have been based in the UK branch.
Why fly EL AL?
EL AL has the unique and warm hospitality onboard and this is where our passengers start their Israeli experience. Last month, Shahaf Shabtay, head chef of the Nithan Thai restaurant and successful chain of restaurants in Europe and Asia, was selected to head EL AL’s culinary realm with responsibility for menus in all service classes on the airline’s flights.
Shabtay and his team are in the process of creating a new culinary strategy for the airline, and new menus for all service classes and will be unveiled in the near future. The menus will make extensive use of quality ingredients and advanced cooking techniques – exciting news for the airline’s customers.
The aircraft that we will be using for the Manchester route is our new B737-900 fleet with two cabins – full business class and economy – equipped with Wi-Fi system and stream technology that broadcast and allow passengers to use their mobile devices on-board.
EL AL as a scheduled and commercial carrier offers attractive fares, full on board service and the comfort and flexibility for business travellers. We are committed to accommodating each of our passengers needs in a personal and professional level. We are small enough to care, yet big enough to serve.
You have had an economy price overhaul – can you talk us through this?
In the last four years, EL AL went through a renewal process to align ourselves with the world’s leading airlines. In 2018, we continued the momentum while addressing the competitive arena on routes to and from Europe by introducing our new pricing model for economy class tickets.
The branded fares enable our customers to choose between three ways to fly in our economy class, each offering unique advantages. The first is Lite, for those looking for a basic flight and hand luggage only, enabling the passengers to spend as minimal time as possible at the airport and change the ticket for an additional charge. The next one, Classic, as its name implies, is the classic way we all know, with a suitcase and pre-assigned seating. It enables passengers to cancel or change the ticket for an additional charge. The third option, Flex, offers maximum flexibility for changes and cancellation. This is optimal for business travellers.
Furthermore, Israeli meal and full service on board are offered regardless of the chosen economy ticket.
And the new EL AL fleet?
For an airline with only 45 aircrafts in its fleet, the over $1 billion historic acquisition of the 16 Dreamliner aircrafts, is a game changer for EL AL as it offers a significant improvement in flight experience and allowed us to renew our wide body fleet which has an average of 18.1 years as of September 2017.
By the end of 2018, seven Dreamliners will be in service. Two of those have been serving the London Heathrow to Tel Aviv route since October 2018. By March 2020, we will have a dramatically younger wide-body fleet with an average age of six and a half years.
Flyers can now expect significant improvement in flight experience on board the premium classes. Our 737s are equipped with dream stream, a technology that broadcasts directly to the passenger’s mobile devices. Six of our 737s have Wi-Fi systems and implementation continues until 2019. All of our narrow body fleet will also undergo upgrades to new comfortable economy and business seats and USB sockets will be installed.
EL AL is as old as Israel itself. How important is it to have a national airline?
The history of EL AL is entwined with the history of Israel. EL AL was born in 1948 along with the state of Israel, not only as an airborne bridge between the fledgling state and the world, but as an expression of national existence and pride – the Israeli flag adorning the aircraft’s tail in destinations around the world.
The airline grew along with the state, sharing moments of glory and joy – promoting the country’s growth and expanding its global reach. EL AL and its people were also there during days of sorrow and pain, answering the call of the nation.
EL AL continues to grow in step with the country. Although the airline was privatised economically several years ago, its national spirit and commitment to Israel have never wavered. It continues its many national activities and still strives for excellence through the service it offers its passengers, and will continue to grow and flourish with the state and to be the first choice of travellers to and from Israel.