Israeli freight specialist Cargo Air Lines (CAL) is preparing to launch independent services in December, after receiving Israeli Government licences to operate scheduled cargo flights.

CAL was set up by Israeli agricultural growers' organisations in 1977 to serve as a broker agency, leasing cargo aircraft capacity from Israeli national airline El Al.

According to its open skies policy, the Israeli ministry of transportation is to open the cargo market to competition, despite objections from El Al. The ministry rejected El Al's claims that competition in the freight market is already too great.

The new airline's initial network includes Liege in Belgium (its main European hub) and Amsterdam Schiphol.

Its fleet will include a 747 freighter and a narrowbodied freighter cargo aircraft, says CAL president Gilon Zohar. "We have asked El Al to lease us one of its 747s," he says.

Source: Flight International