Privatized national carrier El Al announced yesterday that, effective March 1, it is cutting its Istanbul route, as well as flights to Larnaca, Cyprus, the latter of which the press had already exposed. El Al said the routes were not meeting criteria set in its business reorganization plan, and were being eliminated to cut costs.

On the brighter side, the airline is completing a $280-million round of financing to acquire two Boeing 777s, of which it will take delivery this summer, TheMarker has learned. It is the first time since El Al privatized it is buying aircraft without state involvement. Banks and financial institutions both here and abroad will finance the deal.