El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) today launched its new low-cost brand "Up", and is seeking to distinguish itself from current routes. El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy says that the measure is an act of renewal and change and an adaptation to needs in the modern era following the Open Skies initiated by the Ministry of Transport which opened aviation to competition.
"The new brand will allow customers to choose how they fly and what they pay for. The most important thing is that the prices are the same for everyone," said Shkedy at the press conference. "This is another step in to compete in the world of aviation. We are responding to low-cost airlines which have been flying intensively to Israel lately.
"This will improve our ability to cope, increases the number of our customers and the number of our seats. It's a step that will enable us to meet challenges in a new way."
El Al will initially operate five planes to five new destinations in Europe. There will be two classes and two kinds of tickets, and special handling for frequent flier members. Up will operate low-cost flights to Europe. Customers decide how much the pay, and pay extra for each added service. Fares will be reduced for advanced reservations.
From March 30, 2014, through Up, El Al will offer low-cost flights to Berlin, Prague, Kiev, Budapest, and Larnaca. It will make 11 weekly flights to each destination.
El Al will use Boeing 737-800s for Up. Each plane will have two classes: Tourist Plus with 36 seats and 34 inches between seats, food, beverages, a blanket and pillow; and Tourist with 144 seats and 30 inches between seats, food and beverages for extra payment, and a blanket for payment.
The basic one-way fare will be $69 to Prague and Budapest, and $100 to Berlin, Kiev, and Larnaca. From July 1, 2014, the basic one-way fare will be $100 to Prague and Budapest, $139 to Larnaca, and $175 in general.
The basic fare is a smart ticket that includes services, a choice of seat, luggage, and check-in. Ticket terms will be flexible at no extra charge. The ticket will allow passengers to take hand luggage up to 6 kilograms. There will be a $20 charge for a 23-kilogram suitcase, if a reservation is made, and $40 charge at the airport. Choosing a seat will cost $10, and choosing a preferred seat will cost $50.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 26, 2013
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