Dubai-based company to bid for purchase of Israir Airlines

A Dubai-based company said Monday it will bid in an ongoing auction for Israir Airlines, one of Israel’s largest carriers and tourism companies.

NY Koen Group, founded by Ukrainian businessman Naum Koen, said in a statement that is is “excited about the potential purchase of Israir and the opportunities this presents.”

Describing Israir as the country’s third-largest airline, the statement said “the company has built a great reputation for itself over the years, and NY Koen Group looks forward to inheriting the Israir brand and [the] legacy that comes with it.”

NY Koen Group said it would draw on experience from its subsidiary Aero Private Jet, which has been operating since 2003 and “has access to over 7,000 planes and 4,000 airports.”

“Israir stands to gain a great deal should they succeed in purchasing the company,” the statement said.

Screen capture from video of NY Koen Group owner Naum Koen. (YouTube)

“Our highly experienced personal managers will help you plan your flights and all the accompanying services,” Koen said in the statement.

The Ukrainian Koen has ties with the Chabad community in the UAE and speaks Hebrew.

The Globes business website reported Tuesday that the auction for Israir closes on November 8. So far, the only bid to buy the airline was made by Israeli businessmen Rami Levy and Shalom Haim, who offered NIS 70 million.

Sources told Globes that investment companies in Israel and abroad have shown an interest in purchasing the airline, with some already contacting senior management.

There has been a flurry of interest among UAE companies in Israel after the two countries last month signed an agreement to normalize relations. The so-called Abraham Accords, signed at a White House ceremony, also normalized relations between Israel and Bahrain.

Israir had announced in September that it would begin direct flights to from Tel Aviv to Dubai but the venture has been delayed until January due to the coronavirus pandemic, an Israeli official said Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump, center, with (from left) Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, September 15, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Earlier this month, the Government Companies Authority officially granted 27-year-old Israeli-American yeshiva student Eli Rozenberg control over national carrier El Al Israel Airlines. Rozenberg’s newly minted Kanfei Nesharim Aviation purchased 42.88 percent of the carrier at $107 million in a September 16 sale, making it the controlling shareholder as defined by Israeli regulation.

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Written by Aakash Malu


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