El Al & Israir having secret talks?


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israir.jpg747-200.jpgAfter a year of attempts by El Al to prevent Israir from operating regular flights to New York, the two companies are said to be engaged in secret talks for possible cooperation on the Tel Aviv-New York line.

In January of this year the High Court rejected an El Al petition arguing that Israir should not be allowed to operate flights to New York. El Al argued that the government’s decision to open the New York line to other Israeli carrier contravenes a guarantee made to El Al upon its privatization that the line would remain under the company’s monopoly until so long the number of passengers who use Ben Gurion Airport hasn’t exceeded 10.7 million a year.

Since the ruling, a number of Israeli and foreign airlines have been authorized to operate flights from Israel to the United States.

The two Israeli rival companies are said to be in negotiations over a code sharing deal. If finalized, a code sharing agreement would allow El Al and Israir to jointly market flights to New York operated by El Al.

The deal will benefit both carriers as it eliminates the need to operate flights with few passengers to New York.

Officials said on Monday that the market uncertainty created by the war in Lebanon has pushed both companies to take extreme measures.