El Al Israel Airlines bought nine new Boeing passenger planes and leased six more in a deal made late last week, Haaretz reported Sunday. The purchase was the largest in El Al's history, and the planes are set to go into service in 2017.
Leadership from the company said the new planes would not affect ticket prices for customers. “El Al fares are lower than they were in 2013 and there’s no reason El Al should change its policy because of the new planes," said El Al CEO David Maimon, as reported by Haaretz, adding "Nothing will be passed on to the customers.”
The company cited a desire to modernize its technology while purchasing fuel-efficient planes that would save money in the long-term. El Al airlines had been deciding between the U.S.-based Boeing and French aircraft maker Airbus, settling on Boeing for its advanced technology and lower prices, according to Maimon.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) November 1, 2015
Tourism to Israel has been down since the Gaza War of 2014, and experts said escalating conflict over the past few months will likely continue to affect tourism negatively. A series of stabbings and murders throughout the past few months may ward off tourists for the holiday season, experts told International Business Times.
Tourism could see a boon from a 2013 "Open Skies" pact between Israel and the European Union, however. The pact, set to come into effect gradually by 2018, will guarantee that customers can fly directly from any EU member state to Israel.
“Israel is a key partner for the EU and today’s agreement is very important for further strengthening the overall economic, trade and tourism relations between Israel and the EU," said former European commissioner for transport Siim Kallas at the time of the deal, the Jerusalem Post reported. "We expect to see more direct flights to and from Israel, lower prices, more jobs and economic benefits on both sides,” Kallas said after the deal's passage.