El Al to resume American Airlines partnership
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. plans to resume its partnership with American Airlines in March, a move allowed by Israel regaining its top-tier aviation-safety rating from U.S. regulators last November.
The airline and rivals were barred from code sharing and expanding U.S. service after the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Israel to Category 2 safety status in December 2008.
El Al said in a regulatory filing that it planned to resume code sharing with the AMR Corp. unit on March 31, allowing the carriers to cross-sell seats on each other's flights.
The move would boost El Al--the only one of the country's three main carriers to operate U.S. flights--at a time when it faces tougher competition after Israel last year reached an open-skies aviation deal with the EU. Israel has an open-skies pact with the U.S., but its airlines were previously unable to take advantage of the opportunities.
North America accounts for about one-fifth of El Al's total capacity, and Tel Aviv to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport is its busiest international route, with service to Newark, N.J., ranking fifth. El Al has a limited alliance with JetBlue Airways Group Inc. JBLU -0.52% that doesn't include code-sharing.