Israeli Cargo Airline ‘CAL’ Wants To Expand To Passenger Services

Israel’s CAL Cargo Air Lines is eying passenger services. Should the airline’s application, first reported by Globes, be approved CAL will become the nation’s fourth passenger carrier.

CAL Cargo Air Lines, Israel Aviation, Passenger Services
Israel could be on the verge of launching a fourth passenger airline. Photo: Ken Fielding via Flickr

Israel currently has three passenger carriers. These include El Al, Arkia, and Israir. El Al will this year test non-stop flights from Tel Aviv to Australia. However, the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority also lists CAL Cargo Airlines on its page of national air carriers. It seems as though CAL Cargo Air Lines wants to become the country’s fourth passenger airline as reported by multiple Israeli news agencies. CAL currently operates a fleet of three Boeing 747-400 freighters.

Founded in 1976

CAL Cargo Air Lines was founded in 1976, commencing operations in November of that very year. While it started off by operating charter cargo flights, the airline now offers scheduled cargo flights. On its website, the airline boasts that its EU-US-EU and EU-Tel Aviv-EU services operate daily. Meanwhile, the airline also operates flights to Canada from the EU.

Today CAL owns and operates a fleet of three Boeing 747-400 freighters. According to Air Cargo News, the airline’s most recent acquisition came from Taobao, a Chinese website with similar functionality to eBay. The aircraft, which used to belong to Jade Cargo and had just 15,000 hours, was sold on the website in November 2017 and joined the Cargo Air Lines fleet roughly a year ago.

CAL Cargo Air Lines, Israel Aviation, Passenger Services
Cargo Air Lines has ditched this paint scheme on its current aircraft. Photo: Yevgeny Pashnin via Wikimedia

A fourth Israeli carrier

If CAL did go ahead and launch passenger services, it would become the fourth carrier in Israel. However, it looks as though the market will be tough. Globes reports that Israel’s national carriers control just 33% of international traffic from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

Haaretz has also reported that CAL has placed a request with the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority in order to carry passengers. Simple Flying has contacted both CAL Cargo Air Lines and the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority for comment. However, at the time of publishing this article, no response had been received.

El AL 787-9
El Al is Israel’s main carrier and will trial flights to Australia later this year. Photo: Boeing

A low-cost carrier model?

In a separate article, Globes suggests that a low-cost model may be the right approach for the Israeli cargo airline. They explain that European low-cost carriers have seen noted success in Tel Aviv.

For example, Wizz Air holds a market share of 5.25%. Meanwhile, easyJet holds a 4.74% market share. Surprisingly, this is greater than the market shares held by Arkia and Israir. Both Israir and Arkia are airlines registered under Israeli operators’ certificates. In November of 2018, Arkia became the first customer to receive an Airbus A321LR.

Do you think Israel needs a fourth passenger carrier? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!