Airlines El Al announces plans to drop Up brand

Israel’s national carrier El Al has announced to drop its European low cost brand Up in 2018.

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Up commenced operations in 2014 and was planned to enable El Al to compete with the growing number of low cost carriers connecting Israel with cities in Europe.

The carrier currently connects its hub Tel Aviv with Larnaca, Prague, Berlin-Schönefeld, Budapest and Kiev. Four Boeing 737-800 with 36 business and 144 economy class seats are flying in the colorful livery of Up. All aircraft are operated by El Al crews.

El Al will discontinue the brand Up because holding several brands creates difficulties, stated El Al’s Vice President Gonen Usishkin.

All Up flights will be integrated into El Al’s flight plan and the four Boeing aircraft will return into El Al’s fleet. El Al plans to introduce a new seating configuration with new seats in economy and business class for its entire European network.

In addition to new seats, El Al has announced a new fare model with the three fares Lite, Classic and Flex. The new Lite fare includes only a basic flight ticket, hand luggage and food and beverages. The new fare structure should allow El Al to attract prize sensitive leisure travelers and at the same time offer services for business travelers.

David Maimon, President & CEO of EL AL: "EL AL continues to innovate while adapting to the growing competition on flights to Europe, both among leisure and business travelers. Among leisure travelers, price is now a critical factor. At the same time, the business passengers are interested in products that offer maximum flexibility, schedules that are best-suited for business activities, business class service and more.  (…) The new model will allow EL AL passengers to fly at attractive prices and choose, with complete transparency, the flight package that best suits their needs. The Business Class offering will not change."

Air traffic from Europe to Israel is growing in the last years. Especially European low cost carriers have commenced operations to Tel Aviv. El Al has to compete with Wizz Air, Easyjet and several other carriers on flights to the five Up destinations. In February 2017 Ryanair has announced to boost capacity by offering 19 routes from Tel Aviv and Eilat in Winter 2017.

El Al currently operates a fleet of 42 aircraft including 23 Boeing 737 family aircraft, seven Boeing 767-300ER, four Boeing 747-400, six Boeing 777-200LR and two new Boeing 787-9. Israel’s flag carrier has ordered additional seven B787-8 and seven B787-9 to renew its fleet and expand its long haul operations, especially by adding flights to the USA.

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