Arkia Israeli Airlines, usually referred to as Arkia is an airline with its head office on the grounds of Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is Israel"s second largest airline operating scheduled domestic and international services as well as charter flights to destinations in Western Europe and across the Mediterranean. The airline is now owned by Kanaf-Arkia Airlines and airline employees. In 2006, the Nakash brothers of Jordache Enterprises, bought Knafaim"s 75% share.
Arkia was founded in 1949 as Israel Inland Airlines to connect Tel Aviv with different regions of the new state of Israel, especially with Eilat, Israel"s important seaport on the Gulf of Aqaba. El Al held a 50% stake in the airline at this time with the Histadrut, Israel"s labour federation, being the other shareholder. The airline later adopted the name Eilata Airlines - Aviron, and Arkia Israel Airlines.
1950s and 1960s was the period of development, when the airline upgraded its fleet and expanded its route and flight frequencies to Jerusalem, Sharm-el-Sheikh, and Santa Caterina. A subsidiary, Kanaf Arkia Airline and Aviation Services was founded as the airline acquired 50% of the stock of Kanaf Airlines and Aviation Services. By the end of the 1960s, scheduled flights were in operation across Israel, from Rosh Pina in the north, to Ofira in the south. In 1970s, Arkia experienced a decrease in passenger traffic as a result of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. This forced the airline to reduce the number of its destinations, which created a negative effect on its financial situation.
1980s was the time of emerges when the airline grew quickly, moving both into the international charter market and airline maintenance, after Kanaf Arkia had acquired the remaining stock of Arkia and merged the two operators. Many changes were made in the company"s operations, allowing Arkia to expand in new directions and complete its financial recovery. During this period, Arkia experiences new growth in passenger traffic causing the airline to expand its fleet of airplanes. In 1990s, Arkia became the largest aviation and tourism company in Israel. It established subsidiary companies with interests in a wide range of Aviation and Tourism activities in Israel and around the world. Under a holding company, Knafaim, a share offering in Arkia stock is floated on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 1993, with extraordinary success.
Arkia Israel Airlines serves 17 cities in 13 different countries. Arkia has 3 domestic and 14 international destinations in Western Asia (Cyprus, Georgia and Jordan), Europe (Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine).
The Arkia Israel Airlines fleet includes the following aircrafts: 5 ATR 72-500, 2 Boeing 757-300, 1 Embraer E-195LR and 1 Airbus A320.
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