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El Al To Purchase 30 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft + Parts in $2-2.5 Billion Deal

El Al To Purchase 30 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft + Parts in $2-2.5 Billion Deal

BY ADAM SCHUPAK Published on June 11, 2024 0 COMMENTS

El Al Israel has chosen the Boeing 737 MAX to replace its current aging fleet of Boeing 737-800s. The Israeli airline made the decision after tense negotiations between the airline industries two major aerospace giants of Airbus and Boeing. 


Photo: Dylan Campbell, AeroXplorer


El Al will now enter negotiations with Boeing over the potential purchase, or leasing of 30 Boeing MAX aircraft. Whether or not El Al will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Letter of Intent (LoI) with Boeing to purchase these planes remains to be seen. 


According to Simple Flying, “...El Al estimated that the transaction, including the purchase and lease cost of the aircraft [including another order mentioned below], replacement engines, and spare parts could cost between $2 billion and $2.5 billion…” for the Israeli carrier.


Should negotiations succeed, El Al is expecting the first 737 MAX aircraft to be delivered sometime in 2027. However, this delivery timeline is unlikely to be followed, as a Boeing executive stated in March that “...the manufacturer has sold out of the 737 and 787 programs through 2028…” 


El Al is racing to replace its rapidly aging Boeing 737-800 aircraft fleet. According to, the average age of El Al’s 16 Boeing 737-800s is a whopping 16.7 years old. The airline also has 8 Boeing 737-900ERs with an average age of 9.5 years. This means that by the time the 737 MAX enters El Al’s fleet towards the end of the decade, the airline's 737-800s will just about be at the end of their useful service lives. The Boeing 737NG series comprises the entirety of El Al’s short and medium-haul fleet. 


The fact that the Israeli airline has gone with Boeing to purchase planes comes as no surprise to aviation geeks and history buffs. Historically, Israel has been a close ally of the United States. During some points in the late 20th century, Israel was the United States'  only long-term ally in the Middle East. As such, the national carrier of Israel - El Al - has operated a historical fleet of all American-made planes. In the past, the carrier has had a particular affinity for Boeing aircraft. 


El Al has flown classic American planes such as the Boeing 707 and 747. This is not to say that the carrier has not considered buying from other aircraft manufacturers either. Up until the Monday June 10th announcement,  El Al was considering purchasing the Airbus A321neo aircraft type from Airbus. 


El Al's new discussion and possible purchase of aircraft comes at a dire time for Boeing. The American aerospace company is under heavy scrutiny following a slew of new issues and incidents such as a door blowout in January concerning the company's 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft types. Alongside these issues, Boeing is having problems getting their new 737 MAX variants - the -7 and -10 - certified to fly by the U.S. Congress due to aircraft technicalities and system issues that go against current FAA regulations. 


The 737 MAX can fly between 300-500 miles (~400-800 km) further than the current 737-800 and -900ER aircrafts in El Al’s fleet. This will allow the airline to fly longer routes to farther destinations due to the beneficial fuel economics that the 737 MAX offers. When combined with the many ways the 737 MAX can be configured, these factors lead to the aircraft being a great fit for El Al. 


El Al is currently in the process of expanding its fleet. Earlier this year, the airline signed a preliminary agreement with Boeing to order three Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with options for six more. For reference, El Al’s wide-body fleet currently consists of four Boeing 777-200ERs, four Boeing 787-8's, and 12 787-9 aircraft.


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Adam Schupak
Hey there! I'm Adam, a passionate avgeek absolutely obsessed with everything that flies. I'm a student glider pilot, but have the ultimate ambition of become a commercial airline pilot. Besides aviation, I'm also passionate about urban design, civil engineering, and trains.

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