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El Al Aircraft Order Postponed Until Tomorrow

Wed Oct 27, 1999 9:21 am

New proposals were received by El Al from both Airbus and Boeing today. Unfortunatly for Airbus fans it looks like this could be a repeat of the 1997 loss.

TEL AVIV, Oct 26 (Reuters) - El Al Israel Airlines [ELAL.CN] has postponed until Wednesday evening a board meeting to decide on a crucial aircraft order, spokesman Nachman Klieman said on Tuesday.

``Yesterday we received new offers verbally from Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - news) and Airbus Industrie [ARBU.CN],'' Klieman told Reuters. ``We just got them in writing today and haven't had time to study them yet.''

The meeting had been scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening.

The order, worth an estimated $350 million to $400 million, is small by Boeing and Airbus standards but has been the focus of intense lobbying.

Airbus, hoping to clinch its first deal with the all-Boeing carrier, is offering El Al two A330s and two A340-300s as well as options. Boeing is offering three 777-200ER widebody aircraft plus options.

Airbus has also offered Israeli companies business worth 35 percent of the value of the order. Boeing is committed to offering offsets of 50 percent of the order's value.

U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley recently urged Israel to choose Boeing, citing the strong ties between the United States and the Jewish state, which receives some $3 billion a year in U.S. civilian and military aid.

Airbus lost an El Al deal to Boeing in 1997 after the U.S. company undercut it in a last-minute offer.

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