Odd: Israel Banning Planes With Four Engines

Odd: Israel Banning Planes With Four Engines

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Israel will be introducing an interesting aircraft ban in early 2023, and I can’t help but wonder what the real motivation is for this.

Israel banning planes with four engines

As of March 31, 2023, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) will be banning four engine planes from operating to & from Israel. Popular planes with four engines include the Airbus A340, Airbus A380, and Boeing 747.

Currently no airlines fly four engine planes to Israel, though there are occasionally cargo flights operated by such planes. EL AL used to fly Boeing 747s, but retired those in 2019.

It’s stated that this ban is being implemented over environmental, noise, and sustainability concerns.

Specific exceptions can be granted to this rule, though. Presumably there could be an exception in the case of an emergency landing, or if a government plane (like Air Force One) made a visit to Israel.

Israel is banning planes with four engines

What’s the real motivation for this policy change?

I’m a little confused by this ban on Israel’s part, since I’m not sure exactly what issue this is addressing? As mentioned above, no airlines currently fly planes with four engines to Israel. Looking at the logic:

  • On a per-passenger basis, four engine planes aren’t necessarily less environmentally friendly or less sustainable than two engine planes; with the same load factor, an A380 has lower per-passenger fuel burn than many planes with two engines
  • Similarly, four engine planes aren’t necessarily louder than two engine planes; technology has come a long way

The only logic I can come up with here is wondering if Israel is just trying to ban Emirates from flying Airbus A380s to Tel Aviv? The Dubai-based airline recently started flying to Tel Aviv with 777s. Nearly half of Emirates’ fleet consists of A380s, and there has been speculation that the airline might eventually fly A380s there.

I’m not sure what the motive would be, but realistically the primary implication here would be preventing Emirates from flying A380s to Israel.

This policy seems primarily targeted at Emirates

Bottom line

As of March 2023, Israel is banning planes with four engines from flying to the country, allegedly over environmental and noise concerns. Currently no airlines fly planes with four engines to the country. The major implication here would be for Emirates, if the airline tried to upgrade its Tel Aviv service to an A380.

This one is puzzling to me…

What do you make of Israel banning planes with four engines?

(Tip of the hat to DansDeals)

Conversations (59)
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  1. Louis Taber Guest

    It could be concerns about the weight of the aircraft on the runways and taxiways. With a maximum take-off weight of 560,000kg (1,234,600lb) Israel may just be trying to protect their airports.

  2. That Guy Guest

    Israel has always had strange rules when it comes to airlines usi g its airspace. I remember flying to and from Amman, Jordan a few years back, where before entering Israeli air space, the captain would tell passengers they are not permitted to get up from their seats, and they must keep all shades closed (or did they require them to be "open", I honestly do not remember).

    Never was I able to figure out an explanation for that!

  3. Roger Thompson Guest

    Perhaps Israel fears the Iranian military will use their eight Iran Air A-380s to attack.

  4. Anthony Guest

    This is pure virtue signaling that was contrived by some government officials that think they're making a difference.

  5. Charles Guest

    Suspicious motives.

  6. David Guest

    Looks like this is mostly about an Israeli cargo airline, which is the main operator of 4-engine jets to the airport.
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-banning-jumbo-jets-from-ben-gurion-airport-to-cut-noise-pollution/

  7. Grey Gold

    The ban only applies to passenger flights at Tel Aviv airport, so air force 1 and cargo flights are not included.

    1. Steve Guest

      What do you think? Money! You know israel will say well if you want to bring in the efficient 4 engine 380, You can do it for extra money. Don’t you know the Israeli way by now? They wil claim extra costs and so on while racking in the cash. They just created another way to make money. But time will tell

  8. Fry Guest

    It may be an answer to the refusal of opening a representation on the Emirati soil although it should have happened from the Abraham accords

  9. Steve Guest

    Your speculations are false and making Israel look bad. If the ban is there already (as you yourself write), why would they need to make a new same ban? They may just be reiterating what the law is and it will probably affect some carriers. How do you know the Emirates will be affected? Maybe they made provisions already. You dont know; this article smells anti-Israel. Its in Israels best interest to be friendly to...

    Your speculations are false and making Israel look bad. If the ban is there already (as you yourself write), why would they need to make a new same ban? They may just be reiterating what the law is and it will probably affect some carriers. How do you know the Emirates will be affected? Maybe they made provisions already. You dont know; this article smells anti-Israel. Its in Israels best interest to be friendly to the Emirates and all these new Arab countries that recently made peace with her!

    1. Michael R. Guest

      >If the ban is there already (as you yourself write), why would they need to make a new same ban?

      Wut? Literally the opening sentence of the article states they "will be banning" four-engine jets starting next year. Nowhere does it even hint that the ban is already in place, because it clearly isn't -- also why some cargo flights in operation today will be impacted.

      >They may just be reiterating what the law is...

      ...

      >If the ban is there already (as you yourself write), why would they need to make a new same ban?

      Wut? Literally the opening sentence of the article states they "will be banning" four-engine jets starting next year. Nowhere does it even hint that the ban is already in place, because it clearly isn't -- also why some cargo flights in operation today will be impacted.

      >They may just be reiterating what the law is...

      ...but way to answer your own question -- if only the premise wasn't demonstrably false.

      Saying that Israel is doing something weird is not *at all* "anti-Israel." It would be weird for any country to implement such a ban, and I'm sure it would've been reported the aame if any other country had plans to do so... to my knowledge, no other countries do, because -- again -- it *is* weird.

      If reporting facts about someone "makes [them] bad," that's their problem, not the reporter's. And speculation, by definition, cannot be "false," and is absolutely called for In cases like this, where a bizarre decision has been made and the reasons given for it make no damn sense. The only way this article would come off as "snti-Israel" is if the reader is blindly "pro-Israel" and just itching to be offended.

      Also... Speculations, by definition, can not be false -- they're speculations, not statements of fact. And since the reasons Israel gave for the ban make no sense, it would be odd not to speculate as to the real reasons.

  10. AllenG Guest

    I think that Israel is more concerned about the dangers of their plane’s heat signature and the proliferation of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weaponry among the proxy forces in the region

    1. Mh Diamond

      Having 4 engines doesn't make a larger heat signature.

      The heat signature comes from the source, not the number. So two engined planes have two heat sources in their heat signature and just as juicy targets as having 4 engines.

  11. Sure Guest

    What this ban does is kill the cargo / air import & export. Currently CAL have a fleet of 4 747 which they will need to (most likely) move to Liege; Silkway also operate 747 cargo flights to TLV. Other aircraft have smaller cargo capacity, both in terms of ttl tonnage, and in terms of cargo size limits.

  12. Bert Guest

    It seems to be a poorly made decision that should be overturned.

  13. Eskimo Guest

    The biggest victim would be cargo planes.

    Don't go crying anti-Semitic discrimination when goods in Israel are more expensive than everywhere else. And hopefully Lapid isn't dumb enough to start economic sanctions. We all see how expensive gas went.

    1. John Guest

      Cargo planes are 'victims' now??
      LOL. Empathy is good (with fellow humans and animals), but sheeeesh....crying for an aeroplane is a bit much.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Stick to your blue collar and let your union reps do the white collar jargons.

    3. Michael R. Guest

      I think you're reading way too far into their use of that term -- since there are varying degrees of victimization, and some cargo operators clearly will be negatively impacted, it seems like a perfect fit to me. In fact, the only other way to convey the same meaning in as many words (that I can think of) would be to describe them as "casualties," which actually *does* carry the more extreme meaning you're inferring from "victims."

  14. Guy Guest

    I totally agree, israeli flight company named EL-AL are so afraid from emirates so they are trying to push them to reduce number of passengers.
    Need to keep in mind that emirates are far beyond EL-AL in terms of service, airplanes and pricing, which lots of Israelis prefer use instead of EL-AL.

    Keep on flying emirates, and I am telling this as an israeli citizen

    1. Juan Sinmiedo Guest

      How's the security in Emirates? Yep, I thought so.

  15. Bee Guest

    If it just about Emirates A380 - Is Tel Aviv's airport terminal even capable to cater for that big bird? I guess not. So it is easier to just ensure the airport authority will not be allowed to make terminal upgrade for A380. And, what is the objective to do that? So I guess that is not the reason.

    1. Roy Guest

      You guessed wrong. Several airlines already used A380s for their flights to TLV (like ethiopian airlines for example)

  16. William Owens Guest

    If this has anything to do with carbon credits, I feel that I will need to hurl…

  17. AniGadolTzioni Guest

    I don't think this has anything to do with Emirates using the A380 to TLV - the airport currently is not able to accept this plane at the terminal - there are not enough bridges to load/unload this behemoth. Emirates is happy to use the 777-300's - they can always add more flights. This will however affect several cargo airlines, most specific Silk Way out of Azerbaijan, who have multiple flights every week using their...

    I don't think this has anything to do with Emirates using the A380 to TLV - the airport currently is not able to accept this plane at the terminal - there are not enough bridges to load/unload this behemoth. Emirates is happy to use the 777-300's - they can always add more flights. This will however affect several cargo airlines, most specific Silk Way out of Azerbaijan, who have multiple flights every week using their 747's IL76's and AN-124's are also affected by this prohibition - again, cargo only types, but used by quite a few nations to transfer military hardware bought from Israel to their respective capitals. There are several Israeli registered 747's also currently operating between TLV and the world. A very short sighted and stupid decision.

  18. AnishReddi New Member

    This reminds me of when India banned the a380 around 2010 because they feared what a large plane would do to Local carriers, eventually giving in though. I think this is similar with Israel, targeting Emirates. Especially because they recently stated that El Al wants alot more connecting traffic.

    1. Sean M. Diamond

      India never "banned" the A380 - it did not approve A380 operations until the airport infrastructure was upgraded to support the aircraft.

  19. 305 Guest

    No difference in noise? I’m guess you haven’t spent much time in your new condo when aircraft from MIA are taking off to the east.

    I live in Brickell and the 747s/A380s are easily distinguishable from all other aircraft: the noise and shaking in my condo is x10 when one of those is taking off overhead, and I only live on floor 7.

  20. derek Guest

    Emirates should get Airbus to make a 5 engine A380. Count the APU as an engine.

    The British made Trident was generally a 3 engine jet, similar looking to a Boeing 727. However, a later version had 4 engines, a little engine in the tail used as a boost on takeoff.

  21. Rufus Dufus Guest

    I live under a flight path. I can tell a four engine plane is about to fly over my house before I can see it. The m****erf***ers are the only ones that make the windows shake. They should be banned for the good of humanity.

    1. Dick Bupkiss Guest

      Did you move into that house before 4-engine jets were invented?

    2. Bee Guest

      LOL. But we don't know where he lives, might be a place where old Ilyushins are still flying...

    3. Donato Guest

      I get your drift but sometimes there is a shift in approach patterns being used. You would expect this is generally related to wind direction but often there are political decisions so what might have been a minor issue becomes a daily issue.

  22. Tim Dunn Diamond

    First the A380 is not competitive with other widebody aircraft not because of 4 or less engines but because of the generation of engine that powers the aircraft.
    The 747-8 is also 4 engine but is powered by new generation engines and burns anywhere from 10-20% less per seat; fuel burn per seat obviously depends heavily on the configuration of the aircraft and that is subjective to airlines.
    The very reason why Emirates...

    First the A380 is not competitive with other widebody aircraft not because of 4 or less engines but because of the generation of engine that powers the aircraft.
    The 747-8 is also 4 engine but is powered by new generation engines and burns anywhere from 10-20% less per seat; fuel burn per seat obviously depends heavily on the configuration of the aircraft and that is subjective to airlines.
    The very reason why Emirates pushed for an A380neo was because the A380's fuel efficiency per passenger fell as soon as new generation widebodies including the A350/A330neo and B787 began service.
    And there are far more previous generation powered cargo aircraft than passenger aircraft including among twins. The B767 and B747 are popular freighters but burn more fuel than the B747-8F which has new generation engines.
    If Israel's intent is environmental, they would focus on the generation of engines - although there are global standards for aircraft fuel efficiency and access to airports.
    If the intent is to keep out the A380, they will likely harm air cargo companies more than Emirates with a 4 engine rule.

    1. Mak Guest

      The only potentially legitimate argument for this rule is noise abatement. Of course a 4 engine jet burns more fuel than a 2 engine jet, but a 4 engine jet burns less fuel than two separate flights of 2 engine jets which might be needed to replace a single 4 engine jet flight. The fuel burn is a complex analysis that depends also upon the distance of the flight (since most fuel is burned on...

      The only potentially legitimate argument for this rule is noise abatement. Of course a 4 engine jet burns more fuel than a 2 engine jet, but a 4 engine jet burns less fuel than two separate flights of 2 engine jets which might be needed to replace a single 4 engine jet flight. The fuel burn is a complex analysis that depends also upon the distance of the flight (since most fuel is burned on takeoff) and numerous other factors that only the operators are in a position to measure or analyze. A blanket rule is inappropriate on environmental grounds

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      new generation aircraft such as the A350 and B787 have advancements in fuselage technology which make them lighter. Add in the improvements in engine technology and large new generation twins such as the A350-1000 and the B777X (not yet in service) will carry a high percentage of the passengers that the 4 holers can carry, the only one of which has new generation engines is the B747-8.
      Because countries that are signatories to global...

      new generation aircraft such as the A350 and B787 have advancements in fuselage technology which make them lighter. Add in the improvements in engine technology and large new generation twins such as the A350-1000 and the B777X (not yet in service) will carry a high percentage of the passengers that the 4 holers can carry, the only one of which has new generation engines is the B747-8.
      Because countries that are signatories to global aviation agreements can't ban specific aircraft that meet global guidelines, even if they are older technology, what Israel is doing is banning many older technology aircraft which are noisier.

      Let's not forget that many flights to/from Israel operate at night so the noise issue is real. Noise is also covered by global aircraft agreements so Israel is doing what it can within established conventions to which it is a party to reduce noise and fuel burn esp. at night.

      The of the 4 holer has ended; it will just take another 15-25 years to replace them w/ the cargo carriers the last to operate the 747-8F perhaps 90 years after the 747 first entered service.

      Big twins can do most of what the quads can do and airlines increasingly could not justify the higher cost and size of quads which is why even the 747-8 didn't sell very well

  23. Dan Guest

    This is odd as El Al still flies the 747 cargo version. And if I'm not mistaken Israeli Air Force still operates one 707 and a few CH-130 Hercules.

    1. ugoren New Member

      The air force doesn't operate out of TLV so they shouldn't have a problem.
      Also 707s are being replaced by KC-46 twin engine, and CH-130 isn't a jet so I don't believe it's affected.

  24. Mak Guest

    This is a strange rule, but I suspect its more about misguided environmental virtue signaling than aiming at Emirates. By far the biggest loser of Emirate's service to Israel isn't El Al -- which is still waiting for fly over rights from Oman so still has to take crazy routes to Asia -- but Turkish/THY which was until the arrival of Emirates/Etihad/FlyDubai the best way to connect from Israel to Asia and which has until...

    This is a strange rule, but I suspect its more about misguided environmental virtue signaling than aiming at Emirates. By far the biggest loser of Emirate's service to Israel isn't El Al -- which is still waiting for fly over rights from Oman so still has to take crazy routes to Asia -- but Turkish/THY which was until the arrival of Emirates/Etihad/FlyDubai the best way to connect from Israel to Asia and which has until now supported roughly 10 frequencies per day between Tel Aviv and Istanbul, almost all of which is connecting traffic. The ability of Israelis to now connect in the Gulf will eat into what has been a very profitable franchise for Turkish, and give passengers much more direct routes.

    1. Al Guest

      It seems unlikely that the reason they aren't flying over Saudi Arabia is because they don't have overflight rights from Oman. Do you have a source?

      If that were the reason they could just fly over the UAE and then turn right. Would still certainly be more efficient than avoiding Saudi all together

    2. Sean M. Diamond

      @Al - There is no peninsular airway routing between Saudi and Asia that doesn't require the UAE to hand off to either Oman or Iran. And I'd wager that the likelihood of getting Oman overflight authorisation is slightly higher than Iran.

    3. Mak Guest

      The problem isn't Saudi Arabia but the necessity of flying over either Oman or Iran after leaving Saudi Airspace . . . and the later isn't happening anytime soon.

      https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy/1660211297-el-al-ceo-sees-approval-for-saudi-oman-corridor-within-days

    4. al Guest

      Thanks Mak! I've been trying to figure out why El AL planes have not started overflying Saudi yet (Except for flights to the UAE). This is helpful, thanks!

    5. Uri Guest

      Something between virtue signaling and yielding to anti-noise pressure at a low cost.

      But what does it have to do with Turkish? Sure, Emirati carriers byte into their business, but neither side uses quad engines.

    6. Mak Guest

      I'm not suggesting that it has anything to do with anything other than environmental concerns, but only pointing out that Emirates arrival in the Israeli market is mostly a problem for Turkish, as Tel Aviv is their largest overseas market and likely to suffer the most from competition - and the Israeli government has no reason to protect Turkish over Emirates.

    7. Blah Guest

      There is no such thing as “environmental virtue signaling”.

  25. Jww57 Guest

    I would invite the Israeli ambassador to explain this too as many countries as possible, and limit Israel to only flying 3 engine planes to my country...

  26. iflyfar Guest

    We'll keep this in mind the next time Israel is looking for yet more aide.

    1. Moses Guest

      Your comment would make more sense with the proper words, not that I agree. The entire world is going ESG crazy, so they signal with an essentially meaningless rule.
      Aid to Israel is based on values vis a vis terrorism and such. While Israel has many enemies, I doubt this rule is going to be a factor.

    1. MG Guest

      I'd kill to see some 727 resurrection!

    2. Donato Guest

      Still is shining, used primarily as a Freighter.

  27. Uri Guest

    It's necessarily about cargo airplanes.
    Cargo 747s routinely fly to and from Israel, and this is the ban's main impact.

    Emirates has no need to fly the A380 on the short flight to Israel. Air Force one will get an exception.

    1. Alex Guest

      @Uri. I think @Ben is implying a fifth freedom flight.

    2. Al Guest

      If this were about preventing a fifth freedom flight, Israel could just deny permission for it without banning all four engine aircraft. Also, Emirates can still launch a fifth freedom route with a 777

    3. snic Guest

      Are cargo plains actually covered under the ban? Seems very misguided to ban 747 cargo plains. These are used all over the world.

    4. ugoren New Member

      Obviously you ban planes that are used, if the ban is supposed to have any effect.
      And the effect is almost entirely on 747 cargo

  28. SamB Gold

    Limiting Emirates while trying to avoid making it specific or causing a diplomatic kerfuffle. Interesting.

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iflyfar Guest

We'll keep this in mind the next time Israel is looking for yet more aide.

3
Sean M. Diamond

India never "banned" the A380 - it did not approve A380 operations until the airport infrastructure was upgraded to support the aircraft.

2
Tim Dunn Diamond

First the A380 is not competitive with other widebody aircraft not because of 4 or less engines but because of the generation of engine that powers the aircraft. The 747-8 is also 4 engine but is powered by new generation engines and burns anywhere from 10-20% less per seat; fuel burn per seat obviously depends heavily on the configuration of the aircraft and that is subjective to airlines. The very reason why Emirates pushed for an A380neo was because the A380's fuel efficiency per passenger fell as soon as new generation widebodies including the A350/A330neo and B787 began service. And there are far more previous generation powered cargo aircraft than passenger aircraft including among twins. The B767 and B747 are popular freighters but burn more fuel than the B747-8F which has new generation engines. If Israel's intent is environmental, they would focus on the generation of engines - although there are global standards for aircraft fuel efficiency and access to airports. If the intent is to keep out the A380, they will likely harm air cargo companies more than Emirates with a 4 engine rule.

2
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