Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
An Israir airplane on the Tel-Aviv to Eilat route at Ben Gurion International Airport, August 8, 2020.

Israeli airline Israir is conducting talks for the purchase of Czech airline “Smartwings,” according to a notice filed Wednesday morning with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

The airline’s share price has doubled since the start of 2023.


Supermarket czar Rami Levy controls 60 percent of Israir Group; the Czech airline deal would expand Israir to a fleet of 48 aircraft, overtaking Israel’s national carrier, El Al Airlines, which has 45 aircraft.

Smartwings has more than 40 aircraft and flies some six million passengers annually, with hubs in Prague, Paris, Budapest, and Warsaw.

Israir has just six aircraft and 400 employees at present. The Israeli airline flies to Dubai, Georgia, Czech Republic, Greece and Italty.

The deal is not yet done. However, Israir notified TASE that it paid a deposit of 500,000 euros and received an extension of the deadline to finish the negotiations.

News of the acquisition also appears to have prompted Clal Insurance to raise its stake in Israir from two percent to 7.44 percent. According to the Globes business news site, Clal’s stake could rise to as much as 11.3 percent if the insurance giant chooses to exercise an option for another 11.4 million shares at NIS 2 per share.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.