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Arkia Israel Airlines plans to petition the High Court of Justice against Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz's decision to permit El Al Airlines to fly passengers to and from Eilat, TheMarker has learned. This week marks the end of the court-ordered 30-day cooling-off period, which was set up to allow Arkia and Israir Airlines to voice any objections to the new arrangement before El Al begins plying the domestic route.

"We're ready to go before the High Court and are preparing our case," a senior Arkia executive told TheMarker yesterday. El Al, for its part, is preparing its foray into domestic aviation, and has started a course for ground staff at its new terminal in the Eilat airport.

El Al is obligated to operate at least one flight per day in each direction between Tel Aviv and Eilat, on five out of seven days per week. Each flight must have at least 100 passenger seats, but the airline may not offer more than 430 seats per day in either direction.