El Al to resume American Airlines partnership
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. plans to resume its partnership with American Airlines in March, a move allowed by Israel regaining its top-tier aviation-safety rating from U.S. regulators last November.
The airline and rivals were barred from code sharing and expanding U.S. service after the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Israel to Category 2 safety status in December 2008.
El Al said in a regulatory filing that it planned to resume code sharing with the AMR Corp. unit on March 31, allowing the carriers to cross-sell seats on each other’s flights.
The move would boost El Al–the only one of the country’s three main carriers to operate U.S. flights–at a time when it faces tougher competition after Israel last year reached an open-skies aviation deal with the EU. Israel has an open-skies pact with the U.S., but its airlines were previously unable to take advantage of the opportunities.
North America accounts for about one-fifth of El Al’s total capacity, and Tel Aviv to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is its busiest international route, with service to Newark, N.J., ranking fifth.