The Israeli ministry of transportation may end flights to Tel Aviv from airports with insufficient security measures. It is also backing away from its open-skies policy, with plans to limit foreign charter flights to gain greatermarket share for Israeli carriers.

"We are conducting a survey among passengers, mainly on charter flights. If this survey uncovers holes in security systems, we might ban flights from certain destinations," says Ephraim Sne, Israel's minister of transportation.

"Very serious" problems have been revealed at some airports, says Sne, adding that these airports and the airlines that operate from them have been warned.

In addition, all general aviation and agricultural aircraft operated in Israel will have to be equipped with security mechanisms to avoid unauthorised use, while security experts have recommended that aircraft entering Israeli airspace must not exceed 250kt (460km/h) under 10,000ft (3,050m) to allow the air force to intercept aircraft.

Meanwhile, Israel is limiting foreign charter flights in response to them securing a larger chunk of the market than Israeli carriers on some routes. "The policy will be to create some kind of symmetry between Israeli and foreign carriers," says Sne. The three Israeli charter airlines - El Al subsidiary Sun D'or, Arkia and Israir - compete with 60 foreign charter airlines, which in July and August carried 32.9% of the total traffic from Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Source: Flight International