11 July 12 19:36–The results of the current round in the fight between management and the pilots at El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) will probably not only affect the future of the former national carrier, but also its character. And in this fight over the airline’s future character, each side is determined to prove that it’s in the right.
What makes the struggle hard and emotional is the human dimension. Many El Al pilots and captains know CEO Elyezer Shkedy from their common service in the Israel Air Force. They flew together on dangerous missions, entertained with their families together, and battled each other on simulators and in training flights.
Shkedy’s appointment as El Al’s CEO in early 2010 was welcomed by its pilots. After Haim Romano, who was perceived as a hired CEO who milked the airline, Shkedy, a former Air Force commander, won the pilots’ trust. The fact that he lacked managerial experience in the business world, the fact that he came from the Air Force – where emphasis is placed on debriefings, learning from mistakes, and drawing lessons – gave him many credit points among El Al’s pilots, some of whom were once his subordinates.
What unquestionably broke this trust and undermined Shkedy’s relations with his pilots, was the astonishing salary he was granted in 2010. In his first year in his new job, when macroeconomic conditions affecting the airline were good (low prices for jet fuel and a high shekel-dollar exchange rate) El Al made a $57 million profit…Read More>>