The Board of Directors of El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) has approved talks with Boeing and lessors for the purchase and lease of approximately thirty B737 MAX, the company announced.

The aircraft will gradually replace and expand the Israeli carrier's existing narrowbody fleet, composed of eighteen B737-800s and eight B737-900ERs, which are on average 20.1 and 9.5 years old, the ch-aviation fleets module shows. El Al announced in a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange market filing that it expects the new jets to be delivered over several years starting from 2027. The company has previously stated it expects to have a fleet of up to 31 narrowbody jets in 2028.

The estimated cost of purchasing and leasing the new MAX jets, including the replacement of engines and a spare parts inventory, is expected to range between USD2 billion and USD2.5 billion.

However, the announcement was just of the approval to conduct exclusive negotiations with Boeing, “and there is no certainty that a preliminary proposal document, a binding agreement, or that the transactions with Boeing or with the leasing companies will be completed,” El Al explained.

El Al currently operates a fleet of 48 planes, including the eighteen B737-800s, one B737-800(BCF), the eight B737-900ERs, four B777-200ERs, four B787-8s, and twelve B787-9s. It leases its 25 aircraft from ten lessors: AerCap, Aero Capital Solutions, Air Lease Corporation, Aviation Capital Group, BBAM, Carlyle Aviation Partners, Genesis Aircraft Services, Macquarie AirFinance, ORIX Aviation, and WNG Capital.

Dina Ben-Tal Ganancia, the carrier's chief executive, had previously confirmed they were in negotiations to buy short-haul aircraft from Boeing or Airbus.