The Israel Airports Authority, the government agency that controls airports in the country, announced a ban on four-engine aircraft starting March 31, 2023.
The measure is motivated by environmental concerns, especially the noise caused by these aircraft. The agency, however, did not elaborate on whether all four-engine commercial jets will be affected.
It is estimated that the new rule is specifically targeted at Boeing 747 freighters, which have been used quite frequently thanks to the worldwide e-commerce boom.
The Airbus A380, which is even quieter than some older twin-engine models, remains unclear. There are currently no flights to Israel with the aircraft, although Emirates Airline, which recently started a route between Tel Aviv and Dubai with the Boeing 777-300ER, has reportedly expressed interest in using the world’s largest passenger plane on the route.
Government aircraft such as the US Boeing 747 “Air Force One” will stay out of the ban as there will be special permits, thanks to “exceptional circumstances”.
“I intend to lead the Airports Authority and Ben Gurion Airport not only in the fields of digitization but also to lead the environment and sustainability in the world of aviation, stopping the landing of 4-engine planes at Ben Gurion Airport is one step and the first step in a broader plan that is currently being formulated,” said Hagai Topolansky, director general of the Israel Airports Authority.
El Al retired the 747 in 2019
Israeli flag carrier El Al was a major operator of the Boeing 747, but retired its last example of the type, a 747-400, in 2019.
In addition to the 747 and A380, some airlines still operate the Airbus A340 while few freighters keep DC-8 jets in active service in parts of the world.