Israir (6H, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) has said that under its new ownership, it would stop flying on days of religious observance in Israel, such as Shabbat, which lasts from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, joining other Israeli carriers such as El Al Israel Airlines (LY, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion) and, most recently earlier this year, the flag carrier’s leisure unit Sun d'Or International Airlines.

Israir parent IDB Tourism (2009) Ltd. made the announcement four months after the completion of its takeover by BGI Investments, which is jointly owned by supermarket tycoon Rami Levy and businessman Shalom Haim, local media reported.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, the only flights that Israir currently operates on Saturdays are between Tel Aviv Ben Gurion and Eilat Ramon, its single domestic route, performed 12x weekly. The five international routes it operates, to Athens Int'l, Batumi, and Larnaca (3x weekly each), and Dubai Int'l and Tbilisi (2x weekly each) fall on other days of the week.

Speaking to the financial newspaper Globes after the deal's completion, Haim commented on his intention to call a halt flying on Saturdays.

“By personal conviction, I’m a religious Jew who observes the Sabbath, and all my businesses are closed on Saturdays. We respect those who observe the Sabbath, and this is not a personal whim of mine. It’s the DNA of Judaism.”

He added: “We’ll examine the economic implications of the possibility of reducing activity on Saturdays. We want to reach a situation in which there’s a weekly day of rest for the pilots as well. There are many businesses that don’t operate on Saturdays, and this can include aviation too.”

He elaborated that the issue had initially been speculated on in the media due to the worldview of the new shareholders before he and Levy had been able to discuss it in any depth.

“We understand trade, but we still don’t understand aviation as much. Within two to three months, we’ll be wiser in this respect,” he said.

Now that a few months have passed, it has been decided that Israir will stop the practice. Sun d’Or also took the step after a change in ownership, coming in the wake of Eli Rosenberg’s acquisition of El Al.

In the past, Israir has operated El Al codeshare flights on Saturdays to circumvent the ban, but this will also cease. The only Israeli passenger airline now continuing to operate on Saturdays is Arkia Israeli Airlines (IZ, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion).