Tel Aviv (Feb. 19)
— The outlook for Israel’s aviation industry in the 1980s is bright according to various experts and officials in the field, with respect to the manufacture of aircraft, the economical transportation of passengers and freight and the marketing of Israeli-built planes abroad.
Yosef Ma’yan, Director General of the Defense Ministry, told the 23rd annual Israel Aeronautical Conference here several days ago that Israel will invest $1 billion over the next eight years to develop the Lavie jet fighter, a second generation combat aircraft that will replace both the Israel-made Kfir and the American Skyhawks. Ma’yan said he was not aware that any other country plans such second generation aircraft and if they did, they would be more expensive than the Lavie.
Menachem Leviathan, head of the engineering department of EI AI, described fuel economy measures being taken by the airline with its Boeing jet aircraft. He said they were being copied by other airlines which use the Boeing planes. Leviathan cited a recent precise study made of the in-flight fresh water requirements of EI AI passengers which led to a reduction of the water carried and an attendant increase in the weight available for fuel, passengers of freight. He said this saved some $1 million a year.
He said other savings were theoretically possible but had to be tested. He mentioned in that connection the construction of a mathematical model of the optimum speeds a plane should fly under various wind conditions.
Meanwhile, Israel Aircraft Industries announced that their Israel-designed and produced Westwind executive jet has captured almost 25 percent of the American market for such aircraft. They said 223 of the planes have been sold in the U.S. so far. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism has promised an allocation of 12 million Shekels (about $1.3 million) to encourage the development of 1AI’s Astro 1125 executive jet to replace the Westwind 1124 model. The Astro is expected to be airborne sometime in 1984-1985.