The Ministry of Transport today granted Arkia Airlines Ltd. designated carrier status on the Tel Aviv-Paris route. Beginning in May, the airline will be able to increase its flights between Ben Gurion Airport and Charles de Gaulle Aiport from the current three weekly charter flights to six scheduled weekly flights.
Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz said that, in the coming weeks, he would grant designated carrier status on more routes, including London, Madrid, Barcelona, and Moscow. He added that the goal was to boost competition to popular European destinations beginning with the upcoming summer season.
Arkia plans to boosts its weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Paris to seven in July and August, using Boeing 757-300 planes. The planes will also have business class service. The airline added that it would sell some tickets at a starting price of $149 one-way, using the low-cost method, depending on demand.
Following the granting of designated carrier status, Arkia owner Avi Nakash said that the airline would ask the Ministry of Transport for similar status on other routes, including Barcelona, Berlin, and Moscow. He added that the airline would invest millions of dollars to buy planes in the coming years, including two Boeing 737s. The airline will also invest in infrastructures and upgrading its computer system, which will enable it to operate as a designated carrier to a number of destinations.
Designated carrier status requires an airline to invest heavily in landing rights, and in advertising, marketing, and reservations systems.
Earlier this week, Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. announced that it would seek designated carrier status to a number of US and European destinations.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 12, 2008
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