EL Al flight returns to Israel from Australia with stranded Israelis

The direct flight was the longest in the history of Israeli aviation, taking 17 hours and 20 minutes, having taken off in Melbourne and landing at Ben-Gurion.

The El Al flight staff that manned the longest flight in Israeli aviation history, returning stranded Israeli back Australia and New Zealand on April 3 2020 (photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
The El Al flight staff that manned the longest flight in Israeli aviation history, returning stranded Israeli back Australia and New Zealand on April 3 2020
(photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
An El Al flight from Melbourne, Australia landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday, carrying 280 Israelis who were stranded in Australia and New Zealand as global civil aviation grinds to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The non-stop flight was the longest in the history of Israeli aviation, taking 17 hours and 20 minutes. It was also among El Al’s first set of flights to fly directly to and from Australia, the first having taken place in late March from Ben-Gurion to Perth.
The 40-hour operation to return the Israelis involved eight pilots and 11 flight attendants. 

Staff disembark the El Al flight dressed in protective gear to protect them from contracting the coronavirus (credit: Sivan Farag)Staff disembark the El Al flight dressed in protective gear to protect them from contracting the coronavirus (credit: Sivan Farag)
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that “from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Foreign Ministry proved that it will make every effort to bring back every Israel citizen that wants to return.”
While El Al has cancelled all commercial flights, the national carrier has brought stranded Israelis from a variety of locations including Peru, Colombia and India. 
Lahav Harkov contributed to this article.