Route development requires secure, professional and reliable ground handling
AGS What is your in-house passenger, baggage, ramp and cargo handling capability?
SR At the Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) home base of EL-AL ISRAEL AIRLINES, ground handling services are provided partly by the airport authorities, and that includes loading/unloading of baggage, cargo and mail. Cargo warehouse facilities are provided by Maman (one of the three cargo services licensed providers). Passenger services, as well as operations and lounges, are all self-provided. Naturally, supervisory teams are put in place to oversee any of the handling services provided for our aircraft.
AGS Where you buy ground handling services, what are the criteria you abide by? Where does price come in the equation?
SR The optimal sequence of criteria for choosing a provider that cannot be avoided at any location is: safety, professionalism and ability, and then comes pricing.
AGS Do you seek out long term contracts or shorter flexible deals?
SR Long term contracts are not favoured unless the procurement options are limited. We prefer niche suppliers and not network multiple stations for the very simple reason that many years’ experience in this industry tell us that each country has to be fully studied in terms of: its economy, handling standards, airport facilities, and the different service providers.
AGS What is your policy in relation to the roll out of internet check-in, kiosks, baggage drops, etc?
SR Internet check-in and baggage drops are part of the advanced IT passenger services the carrier is developing throughout its network in order to upgrade its customer service.
AGS EL-AL has come to be associated with rigorous security. How do you reconcile the need for high security measures with baggage drops, etc?
SR The excellent cooperation with the different airport authorities worldwide contributes to success in this field.
AGS How extensive are your cargo operations? Do you have dedicated freighters as well as the carriage of belly cargo? What handling services do you have in-house and what is outsourced?
SR The cargo operation is considered an essential part of producing revenues. We operate full cargo 744 aircraft to two main destinations: Liège in Europe and JFK in the US. Other potential destinations are continuously being avaluated.
AGS To what extent does the availability of high quality ground handlers at a station influence the way in which you build your route network?
SR Route planning is a commercial decision that is undertaken first. The high quality of ground handlers is the next element to be considered. We must have a secure, professional and reliable ground handler in place in order to maintain a high profile of service standards throughout all the different parts of the airline.
AGS Do you have your own catering division within the group for the provision of kosher meals or do you work with partners?
SR For many years, the airline has had a business partnership with a local catering company to supply all food required on board as well as duty free. High quality is achieved through mutual management.
AGS How has EL AL invested in IT, management training and process improvement to ensure the swift movement of passengers and freight on the ground?
SR During the last few years, the airline has invested its utmost in developing IT systems in all departments possible.