(photo credit: KKL)
With global air travel expected to reach 5.9 trillion passengers by 2015 and concerns for the environment at an all time high, EL AL, Israel's largest international airline, has teamed up with JNF UK and KKL-JNF to encourage passengers to book on line and by doing so offset their carbon emissions when they fly. For every passenger who purchases an e-ticket on-line on the EL AL UK website for the London-Tel Aviv-London route, EL AL will sponsor a tree and will double the donation for every business or first class return e-ticket purchased on-line. If the ticket will be purchased on the JNF UK site, EL AL will double the donation.
The agreement was announced by Dubi Bergman, KKL-JNF emissary to the UK, who first began working on the idea two years ago: "The agreement is for three years and for sponsoring 30,000 trees. For each passenger flying to Israel from the UK and back, a tree will be planted in KKL-JNF's Chiran Forest in the northeastern Negev, a part of Yatir Forest. EL AL UK, together with JNF UK and KKL-JNF, will issue an electronic certificate for every return ticket purchased on the London-Tel Aviv-London route. Both sides agreed to extend the number of trees or length of years according to clients' requests. "By doing this, EL AL is now the first airline to automatically include offsetting carbon emissions as part of the ticket price.
"I would especially like to thank Uri Danor, El Al CEO for the UK - Eire and Northern Europe and Shmuel Hayek, Chairman of JNF UK, for their cooperation and support. This is a partnership on behalf of Israel, and what makes it so special is that KKL-JNF and EL AL have both been intertwined with the history of the state of Israel since the state's inception.''
Commenting on the agreement, Uri Danor said that ''EL AL is delighted that we can now combine a top quality service to our passengers with protecting the environment. Each EL AL customer who books online can now fly in the knowledge that together, we are working towards clearer skies.''
Shmuel Hayek, chairman of JNF UK, said that he was delighted about this exciting partnership with EL AL UK and KKL-JNF: "For over a century, planting trees has been at the heart of KKL-JNF's work and at the core of the Zionist project. This partnership represents a fantastic opportunity for people to help turn Israel green before they even arrive.''
The forest being planted in Chiran covers an area of over 600 dunams in the mountain region south of Hebron. The climate at Chiran is generally dry and the temperatures are refreshingly pleasant in the late afternoon and evening hours during summer, while the winters are quite cold. On the average, only 250 - 275 millimeters of rain falls in this region each year.
Afforestation in the Chiran region serves a number of purposes. It helps in the struggle against desertification, develops the northeastern Negev, serves as an ecological corridor that is part of the world-wide battle against global warming,
and encourages development of Israeli communities in this region. It is the realization of the vision of former KKL-JNF chairman Yosef Weitz, who over fifty years ago had a dream of making the desert area greener and more livable. And in fact, two new communities, Shani and Chiran, have been established in the region soon after KKL-JNF afforestation efforts began. Chiran is situated in a lovely area, surrounded by the trees of the Chiran Forest. By supporting this project, El Al and JNF UK are lessening our carbon footprint on our environment.
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