Israeli rivals Arkia and Israir are negotiating a comprehensive co-operation deal to help them to survive the country's airline crisis.

The two privately owned airlines have been fierce competitors in domestic and international markets but are now in talks to create a tie-up which will allow them to make better use of their resources.

Arkia operates a fleet of four ATR 72s, three Boeing 757s and four de Havilland Dash 7s on domestic flights, while its international network is made up mostly of European routes. Israir, which has four ATR 42s and two 757s, also operates domestic flights and international charter flights to Europe. In July Israir plans to introduce New York services with a leased Boeing 767.

Arkia president Israel Borovitch says that the talks with Israir are aimed at "better utilising the fleets and other resources", while Sabina Biran, president of Israir also confirmed that the talks are under way. "The situation calls for co-operation," she says.

Source: Flight International