Eliezer Shkedi 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
NEW YORK – El Al’s security costs are “tenfold” those of other airlines, its CEO
Eliezer Shkedi and Vice President for North and Central America Offer Gat said
at a press conference on Thursday to discuss the first 10 months of Shkedi’s
“Governments around the world are taking care of whatever they
take care of,” Gat said. “The government of Israel’s standards of security are
totally different from the rest of the world.”
Shkedi declined to comment
on recent tensions between US, UK and European airports about security
But saying he wants “each and every [passenger] who enters the
airplane to feel confident,” the former IAF chief said that all security
expenditures on El Al are well worth it.
“I’d like you to feel as safe as
you can,” he said, speaking to the reporters as potential passengers.
noted that this press conference, his first on US soil since he became CEO in
January 2010, was taking place “here in New York, and the most horrible
terrorist attack was here, and took place through airplanes.”
Shkedi declined to compare his airline’s security with that of others, he said
that El Al, with 460 weekly departures and 3.6 million passengers annually, was
looking at security issues all around the world and was in constant contact with
“I don’t check other airlines,” Shkedi said when asked how El
Al’s security compares to that of other airlines.
“I know we invest a lot
of efforts, thinking and money in order to have what we believe that we must
give our passengers. It costs us a lot of money.”
Shkedi added that
America and Israel were the only countries that truly realized what was at stake
in the war on terror.
“There are two nations in the world that really
understand – the Americans and the Israelis,” Shkedi said.
you loud and clear: The Americans and the Israelis.”
Shkedi said his plans for El Al included pursuing alliances with other
“Unfortunately, even though we tried in the past to join one of
the alliances, we didn’t succeed,” he said, citing political concerns as the
reason behind the lack of progress on this front. “I personally believe we have
to try again and again.
“You do not know me, but I don’t give up,” Shkedi
told the assembled reporters.
Shkedi has planned an alliance with US
economy carrier JetBlue Airways, and is devising future arrangements for a
codeshare with Air China and a potential collaboration with Russia’s S7
In any case, certain things will continue to hold true at El
Al, Shkedi said.
“I believe and will continue to believe that we do not
fly on Shabbat, that we should serve [only] kosher meals and that we continue to
spend on our unique security expenses,” he said.
While each of these
things entails significant expense to the airline, “this is the meaning, from my
point of view, of being the civilian wings of the Jewish nation and the State of