Israeli government orders phase-out of carriers' ATR fleets

Tel Aviv
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Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir are being forced to phase out their fleets of ATR aircraft because the turboprops are not large enough to carry the C-Music anti-missile countermeasures system mandated by the country's government.

The Israeli civil aviation authority (CAA) has notified the two airlines that since the ATRs are too small for C-Music, the type, used for domestic services by the carriers, will have to be replaced.

Installation of the Elop-developed system on Israeli passenger aircraft will begin soon, initially on those flying international routes.

The CAA's notification to the two airlines of its decision is proof that the system will also be fitted on aircraft operating domestic flights, mainly on the Tel-Aviv-Eilat route.

In some phases of the flight, these aircraft pass near the border with Egypt, perceived to present a potential terrorist threat.

According to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database, Arkia operates five ATR-72-500s, and Israir operates two ATR 72-500s and two ATR 42-300s, with a further ATR 42-300 in storage.

Innovata schedules show the carriers running a combined 48 services between Tel-Aviv Ben Gurion or Dov Hoz airports to Eilat each week.

Arkia and Israir declined to comment.