|Founded||1949 (as Israel Inland Airlines)|
|Operating bases||Ben Gurion Airport
Sde Dov Airport
|Parent company||Jordache Enterprises (75%)|
Tel Aviv, Israel
|Key people||Gadi Tepper (CEO)|
Arkia, legally incorporated as Arkia Israeli Airlines Ltd (Hebrew: ארקיע, I will soar, Arabic: خطوط أركيا), is an Israeli airline. Its head office is 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. Its main base is Sde Dov Airport, with hubs at Eilat Airport and Ovda International Airport.
Arkia was founded in 1949 as Israel Inland Airlines when it became clear that there was demand for a local airline to connect Tel Aviv with different regions of the then-new state of Israel, especially with Eilat, Israel's important seaport situated on the Gulf of Aqaba. Flights commenced in 1950 with De Havilland DH.89 aircraft, followed by Douglas DC-3s, to inter-connect major towns in Israel from Rosh Pina in the North to the port of Eilat in the South. 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. In its first year of service, Israel Inland Airlines carried 13,485 passengers, using a Curtis Commando.
During the 1950s, the airline continued to grow, upgrading its fleet to the larger DC-3, and operating two flights a day on the Tel Aviv-Eilat route. This allowed Arkia to have annual passenger figures of over 70,000. As Eilat continued to grow during the 1960s, so did the airline, introducing the Handley Page Dart Herald 200 turboprop aircraft to its fleet between 1967–1968, enabling Arkia to expand with new routes to Jerusalem, and Sharm-el-Sheikh. A subsidiary, Kanaf Arkia Airline and Aviation Services, was founded when the airline acquired 50% of the stock of Kanaf Airlines and Aviation Services, and, 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 March 1980, Kanaf Arkia acquired the remaining stock of Arkia and merged the two operators. The airline grew quickly during the 1980s, moving both into the international charter market and airline maintenance. The airline is now owned by Kanaf-Arkia Airlines (75%) and airline employees (25%). In 2006, the Nakash brothers of Jordache Enterprises bought Knafaim's 75% share.
In February 2007, the Israeli Tourism Ministry awarded Arkia a scheduled operator's licence for flights to Larnaca, a destination dropped by EL AL, and Dublin. In July 2007, it was announced that the airline planned to file for further scheduled carrier status on routes to New York City and Bangkok, currently served under charter status. Furthermore, in early 2008, after the Israeli Tourism Ministry opened up the airline market, the airline applied for scheduled carrier status for routes to Barcelona, Berlin, Moscow, and Paris. The licence for Paris was granted in February 2008, and the airline announced that both economy and business class would be offered on this route. At this time, the airline also announced that it would add two Boeing 737 aircraft to its fleet within two years, as well as four Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft it had on order.
The Arkia Israel Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft, each in an all-economy configuration (as of June 2016)
|Airbus A321neo||—||4||220||220||All to receive by 2017|
Arkia Israel Airlines has also operated the following aircraft:
|Curtiss C-46 Commando||*|
|de Havilland Canada Dash 7||13|
|Handley Page Dart Herald||*|
Incidents and accidents
- On 28 November 2002, Arkia Israel Airlines Flight 582, a Boeing 757-300, narrowly missed two anti-aircraft missiles shortly after take-off from Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya. The plane continued onward and landed safely in Tel Aviv, Israel. The incident occurred approximately 20 minutes before the Kenyan hotel bombing.
- "Directory: World airlines." Flight International. 16–22 March 2004. 88.
- "Financial Mirror dot com - Arkia Airlines starts flights between Cyprus and Israel". Financialmirror.com. 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 77.
- "About Arkia". Arkia Israel Airlines. Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Arkia gets scheduled status". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- "Arkia to add 2 more Boeing 787s". Retrieved 2007-07-11.
- Dalia Tal (2008-02-12). "Arkia named designated carrier on TA-Paris route". Globes. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
- "A320neo ordertable – March 2015". Airbus.com.
- "Arkia will buy 4 Airbus A321neo". Calcalist.co.il. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- Karp, Aaron (11 July 2016). "Israel's Arkia orders four Airbus A330neos". Air Transport World. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016.
- "A History of Terrorism in Israel". Archived from the original on 9 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- "Pilot of Arkia Flight 582 Describes What Happened". CNN. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
Media related to Arkia at Wikimedia Commons