The Israeli government is completing preparations for the privatisation of flag carrier El Al via a flotation on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. Eyal Gabay, director of the state-owned companies authority, says the public will be offered shares and options. "The first offer will include more than 50% of the shares so that the airline will become private immediately," he says.

El Al chairman Michael Levi says the board will be asked to decide on reinstating flights on the Jewish sabbath immediately after the sale.

Meanwhile, the Israeli finance ministry is preparing a plan to sell 30% of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) next year. Government sources say the privatisation will value IAI at $1.5 billion and is aimed at raising $500 million to enable it to increase research spending in the face of a shrinking defence budget.

Source: Flight International