El Al's Jerusalem-inspired Dreamliner aircraft arrives in Israel

"You're coming home," President Reuven Rivlin told the flight crew as they soared above the city. "Our heart goes up to you, El Al. You have permission to land."

September 19, 2019 17:32
2 minute read.
El Al's Jerusalem-inspired Dreamliner aircraft arrives in Israel

Jerusalem of Gold Dreamliner flying over Israel's capital . (photo credit: ALBATROSS)

El Al’s latest addition to its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft fleet, inspired by Jerusalem, flew low above the Israeli capital on Thursday morning prior to its arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport.

“You are descending over Jerusalem and our hearts are going up to you,” President Reuven Rivlin told the flight crew as they soared above the city. “What do you usually say? You are cleared to land.”

Named “Jerusalem of Gold,” the aircraft is the 12th of a total of 16 Dreamliners received by El Al to date as it renews its long-haul fleet at a cost of over $1.25 billion. Flown to Ben-Gurion Airport from Boeing’s Seattle factory, the plane is painted blue, white and gold.

The carrier expects to welcome two more aircraft by the end of the year, and the final two aircraft by March 2020.

In a jubilant ceremony attended by Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, and MK and former mayor Nir Barkat, the aircraft was welcomed with a traditional water salute in front of a large crowd of El Al employees and crew.

“We have a Jerusalem of Gold, a people of Israel with a heart of gold, and now a plane of Jerusalem in gold,” said Lion. “You know that the phrase ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ comes from Jewish folklore. Jerusalem of Gold was a gold jewel with an impression of Jerusalem. Today, after 2,000 years, Jerusalem has received its gold jewel.”

El Al’s Dreamliner fleet will be operated on the company’s non-stop routes to a range of North American destinations, including New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto. The growing fleet is also in operation on routes to London, Paris and Hong Kong.

Later this year, the new aircraft will commence operations on El Al’s routes to Beijing, Mumbai, Tokyo and Chicago.

“What is Israeli pride? Israeli pride is when a Dreamliner plane features the Star of David on its tail and the name of Jerusalem,” said El Al president and chief executive Gonen Usishkin.

The Dreamliner series will ultimately replace El Al’s famous fleet of Boeing 747 “jumbo jets,” which have been gradually phased out and will officially retire from service next month after 48 years of operations.

On Saturday, an El Al Boeing 747 flew from JFK to Tel Aviv for the final time. The closure of the company’s jumbo fleet marks part of the company’s strategic move to remove old aircraft from service and replace them with new, advanced planes.

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