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Israel says it’s banning four-engine jets from serving the country as of March 2023 but it would appear only cargo carriers, including El Al’s cargo subsidiary, will be directly affected. The Israel Airports Authority says environmental, noise and sustainability concerns are behind the ban, although the math doesn’t always support that. “The increase in passenger and aircraft traffic at Ben Gurion Airport is an environmental challenge,” said Hagai Topolansky, Director General of the Israel Airports Authority. “Stopping the landing of four-engine planes at Ben Gurion Airport is one step and the first step in a broader plan that is currently being formulated.” In terms fuel per passenger mile, a fully loaded A380 beats many widebody twins, especially older designs like the Boeing 767, which is still in wide use by charter and cargo carriers.

Whatever is behind the ban, four-engine aircraft operators will need prior permission and a darned good reason to go to Tel Aviv, which has the only airport where it will be an issue. There are currently no airlines flying four-engine (A380, A340 or Boeing 747) aircraft with passengers, although Emirates was reportedly thinking of putting the A380 on its London-Tel Aviv route, which is now served with a 777. That leaves cargo carriers as the only airlines potentially facing equipment changes for Tel Aviv. El Al uses a 747-400 for flights to Liege and New York.

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