Israeli transport minister Avigdor Liberman says that the privatisation of El Al may lead to the demise of at least one of Israel's three charter carriers.

The sell-off will have a "major effect" on the market, he says, and may mean the elimination of at least one charter airline as a stand-alone entity.

"The market can support El Al and one charter airline, not three," says Liberman.

At present, El Al is the only Israeli scheduled airline, while Arkia, Israir and El Al subsidiary Sun D'or operate charter flights.

Arkia and Israir have only a limited co-operative agreement governing the operation of international charter services, but the deal may not be enough to prevent competition pushing prices down and adversely affecting all three of the charter carriers' financial results.

Source: Flight International