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El Al attempts to block Air India's trans-Saudi route

30 Марта 2018

Israel's national airline, El Al, for fears it will financially suffer from what it calls "aerial discrimination", filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the government, the Civil Aviation Authority, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, finally, Air India.

The first flight Air India flight over Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states landed last week.

El Al claims that when it was privatized back in the 1990s, the Israeli government at the time pledged to "encourage fair and healthy competition" between Israeli airlines and their foreign competitors. Air India employees have also been permitted to participate as bidders either directly or by formation of an "employee consortium" subject to relevant conditions.

Modi's cabinet gave the go-ahead previous year to sell the loss-making flagship airline after successive governments spent billions of dollars to keep it solvent.

The idea behind the AI stake sale is that the new owner of the company will hopefully revive the company and turn it profitable.

The Israeli government has lauded Air India's new direct New Delhi - Tel Aviv route, which has been permitted to traverse the Saudi Arabian airspace.

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In June 2017, the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) gave in-principle nod to the strategic disinvestment of the airline, which has a debt burden of over Rs50,000 crore.

The Air India disinvestment transaction will involve Air India, its low-priced arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd. In addition, the successful bidder would need to ensure that Indian nationals continue to be vested in the substantial ownership and effective control of Air India and Air India Express.

"It is the intention of Government of India to divest its residual shareholding through the process of dispersed disinvestment (ie would not be sold as a block) on such terms as may be prescribed in the Request for Proposal (RFP)", the memorandum said. However, if a domestic airline partners with others to form a consortium, then the profitability requirement will not disqualify such a bid as long as other members of the consortium are profitable.

India's biggest airline, IndiGo, has expressed unsolicited interest in.

As tempting a proposition it is to own this 85-year old airline which was started JRD Tata, the risks associated with its purchase are equally high.

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El Al attempts to block Air India's trans-Saudi route